Letters & Respopnses

We print a representative sampling of our mail—both positive and negative. We do not include names unless we are fairly sure that the writer would not object. To avoid any difficulty, writers should specify how much of their name and address they would like us to print. We include our response to each letter in this type-style. We have selected a title for each letter for easy reference. If writers supply their own title, we will be happy to use it.


Filling a Void

Letter: July 30, 1996

Dear Servants' News:

Thank you for being! You fill a VOID nothing else can. Here's a little something to help.

—Linda Darrow, Chester, NH

Response: Thank you for your encouragement. Please see the back page for other publications helping to fill the void.

—NSE

Power of Holy People Scattered?

Letter: September 13, 1996

Hi Norm,

Thanks for sending Mr. Webster's resignation letter along with your analysis. Please let me know of others who resign from GCG and/or resignations from any other CoG.

What do you think about Dan 12:7?

Later on,

—Paul

Response: We do not keep up with all the groups, but some recent departures from the WCG include: Rod Devries, Tom Heap, Boyd Mansanarez, Ken Swisher, David Wainwright and Scott Weiner. The GCG recently laid off some headquarters staff including Jeff Patton (former managing editor of The World Ahead), Bryan Weeks, Eric Myers and Ron Nelson.

Many people have asked if the breakup of the Worldwide Church of God is the fulfillment of Daniel 12:7 (NKJV): "... that it shall be for a time, times, and half a time; and when the power of the holy people has been completely shattered ("scattered" in KJV), all these things shall be finished."

I do not think that this is being fulfilled now for two reasons:

1) The power of the holy people is the holy spirit, not the money or media buying of a big organization. I have seen more evidence of the spirit working in the last few years than I have during many years in hierarchical governments.

2) The timing does not seem right. It seems that the shattering or scattering occurs during this 3-1/2 "time" period—maybe even at the end of it—when "all these things shall be finished." If we look above, we see the resurrection is one of those things. We certainly have not seen the resurrection, nor do I think we are yet in the final 3-1/2 year period spoken of in other scriptures.

—NSE

Calendar Not Always "Postponed"

Letter: August 16, 1996

Greetings Mr. Edwards—

I am a member of the United Church of God, Sacramento, Calif., congregation. I have been studying the Hebrew Calendar controversy, and came across an article you wrote titled "Biblical Calendar Basics". I found the article to be very balanced, constructive and helpful.

I have a question if you don't mind. With regards to the postponements under the Hebrew Calendar, specifically the one that prevents the Day of Atonement from falling on a Friday or Sunday: you mentioned in the article that there are several references in the Talmud which suggest that at some time prior to Hillel, this postponement was not being invoked.

Can you tell me what your source was for this information, or even better, can you identify the passages of the Talmud to which you refer?

Thanks for your help!

Keep up the good work.

—J C., California

Response: The passages are not directly about the subject of the calendar, but the footnotes in the Soncino Talmud all confirm that the day of atonement did sometimes fall on Sunday or Friday: The three passages are:

Shabbath 114b (See footnote 16)

Menachoth 100b (See footnote 12)

K'rithoth 19a (See footnote 10)

We hope this helps you in your study.

—NSE

Questions on Darrell Conder's Book

Letter: November 5, 1996

To Whom It May Concern;

With things going the way they are, with all the confusion and people being pulled in every direction like a piece of meat, I am looking for as much information on this subject as I can find. So would you please send us your booklets:

"Modern Church, Divine Institution or Counterfeit?"

"The Resurrection of Christ - Is It a Fact?"

This last I find interesting in light of a book I recently read from 'Commonwealth Publishing" entitled "Mystery Babylon and The Lost Ten Tribes In the End Time."

Instead of commenting on it I will only suggest that you read it, you will be, well that would be giving it away.

Please feel free to E-mail us here for knowledge is what we are after, Knowledge and Truth that is. Hope to hear from you soon.

—Willis Rynerson

Response: We are currently waiting for a new version of "Modern Church, Divine Institution or Counterfeit?"—it should be ready in December. The other item you requested, "The Resurrection of Christ -Is It a Fact?" is a little 1-page 3-fold very basic item that was intended for complete Biblical skeptics, not for textual critics.

I have Darrell Conder's "Mystery Babylon and The Lost Ten Tribes In the End Time" and have read the first two chapters. I do hope to read more of it, but have so far been unconvinced by his often faulty reasoning and one-sidedness. Two examples:

He discounts the account of the spirit descending as a dove because the "pagans" used the dove as a religious symbol. Can you tell me a bird or an animal that the "pagans" have not used? If doves are "pagan," why did Noah (as recorded in the Old Testament which Conder believes) use a dove to find land?

He spends a great amount of time talking about the variation of Greek NT manuscripts, but so far has said nothing about the fact that about 99% of the words in the New Testament are not seriously disputed. I agree that many brethren today are ignorant of the textual issues of the NT, but they are no where as bad as Conder paints the picture.

Finally, I am not sure how Conder would explain all of the obvious miracles that have been performed today in the name of Jesus or Yeshua. I and others have experienced hundreds.

I will probably write something about Conder's book in Servants' News after I finish reading it.

—NSE

Music Praising Our Savior

Letter: November 5, 1996

Dear Norman,

Re: Sash letter to SN, Sept/Oct 96

Greetings in the name of our King, and Savior, Jesus Christ. Please keep up the good work that you have begun with the Servants' News.

I could only shake my head in disbelief when I read the letter from John and Deb Sash regarding their refusal to worship Jesus Christ in praise songs during their FOT song service (SN, Sept/Oct 96, page 23). Bypassing Jesus as though He were common sounds a whole lot like some of us are still living the legacy of past mistakes and man's traditions regarding those "evil" Protestants and the "Us" and "Them" syndrome of an earlier elitist Pharisaical aristocracy. This brings several points to mind.

John and Deb Sash wrote that they "did not sing certain songs" because the songs "overly praised 'Jesus, Jesus' to the exclusion of God" and felt that "this was a reflection back to the Protestant 'misconception' of the Messiah, Christ." Further, they "could not in good conscience sing them." They wrote, "to ask us to sing them for the sake of unity .. ." as though someone actually did ask them to do so in one way or another, and if so, they appear to have taken offense. Being unable to take part in a service due to painful memories is one thing, but refusing to praise Christ is quite another.

First, did anyone really get up and suggest that they all sing all the songs for the "sake of unity"? To suggest that some song leader might have voiced such an action (or that someone else might do so), without saying they actually did, is a curious bit of reasoning. Perhaps this ought to be clarified for the sake of those who led music at Martin's Landing.

Their refusal to worship Christ via an aversion to singing praises to Christ, who just happens to be THE Savior and the ONLY Door to the Father and salvation, vis a vis praising the Father, is particularly odd, and according to scripture, misguided. After all, He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. And since Christ is the central theme of the entire Bible, praises to Him ought not be odious to any professed follower of Christ.

Second, Jesus Christ is worthy of all praise. Paul said in speaking of Christ: "Therefore God also has highly exalted Him (Christ) and given Him a name which is above every name, that AT THE NAME OF JESUS EVERY KNEE SHOULD BOW. . .and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father" (Phil.2:9-11). Paul tells us in verse 6 that Christ was (and presumably still is) equal to God. (Oh, yes, the Father is to be praised, also).

Three things: (A) Jesus Christ has been highly exalted; (B) Every knee should bow to the name of Jesus; and, (C) doing so glorifies the Father.

How would you like it if you were the Father and someone snubbed your son, your only son who died to save all others, and refused to duly honor Him? (Most of us probably never give ten words of praise to Christ during any given week).But then along comes this same puny human in the next breath with the audacity to bow to you, seeking special blessings, favors, and protection in the dishonored Son's name? Would you be inclined to grant those blessings? Hardly.

Jesus Christ has been exalted and should be praised daily because Jesus Christ is the present living King of the physical and the spiritual universe. All powers, whether physical or spiritual are under His authority. It is written that Christ has authority over ALL flesh (John 17:2). It is written that: "All authority" has been given Christ "in heaven and on earth" )Matt,28:18) It is written that: "Christ is the head of "ALL principality and power" (Col.2:10) It is written that: "all things," whether thrones, dominions, or principalities, were created by Him, through Him, and for Him, and further states He is the Head of the Church , "that in all things He may have the preeminence" (Col 1:13-18). That means the number one slot, and includes preeminence in praise and worship. It is written that: "He (Christ) is the image of the invisible God, and the firstborn over all creation" (Col.1:15). And it is written of Christ Himself that: "Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it" (Col. 2:15).

It is written that: in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily" (Col.2:9). And we are told to "beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to traditions of men ..." (Col. 2 :8) We are also told: "Let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall: (1cor. 10:12).

It is written by Paul: "Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible to God who alone is wise, be honor and glory forever and ever" (I Tim.1:18). And in case we're not quite certain of the identity of this King that we're supposed to honor, Paul writes: that you keep this commandment... blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ's appearing, which He will manifest in His own time, He who is the only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality ...to whom be honor and everlasting power" (I Tim 6"13-16) Jesus: Christ, described as "the Word of God," is further named "King of kings and Lord of lords" (Rev 19:13-16). And this title "Kings of kings" is not future tense. Note that Christ is called "the ruler over the kings of the earth in Rev. 1:5, and in the same present-tense-salutation of Revelation, it is written of followers of Christ, that the One who washed us "in His own blood" from our sins, "has made us (present-tense) kings and priests to His God and Father." It is also written: "to Him (Christ) be glory and dominion forever" (Rev.1:5-6) As kings and priests today, our Head is Christ, the King of kings, and Lord of lords, and Christ is due much honor, a lot more than many of us give Him. Jesus Christ is either King over all, or He is not King at all. And if we deny Him, He will deny us.

Should singing praises to Christ become a problem to anyone to any degree, beware lest our Savior feel the same way toward the person who would refuse to worship Him without reservation. We humans have not traveled beyond the necessity of boundless worship of the Son just yet. But all too often we use Christ as a sort of lower-case or second-class citizen God who only happens to be there because we need to insert His name prior to the final Amen of our prayers.. Heaven forbid we should pray TO Christ!

More often than not, all Jesus Christ gets from us are the crumbs that fall from our "worship" services. Maybe we ought to rethink our positions in this regard. He was a stumbling block to the Jews and Pharisees of the first century (1 Cor1:23); let's break the mold and give all the worship, praise, and honor due our King Jesus Christ without ceasing, thereby glorifying both the Father and the Son.

Sincerely,

—F Paul Haney

PO Box 370

Watertown, CT 06795

Response: Thank you for your response to this letter and your desire to help John and others with such questions. I think many will find it helpful. I did. I personally had trouble singing "Protestant" songs, even though the message was acceptable, for many years. Your points showing how it is Biblical to praise our Savior are very solid and well demonstrated—much more thorough than my response to John Sash's letter.The scriptures you used make your point very well

However, when we write or speak corrective words, it is not good to make someone else's difficulty worse than it really is. Your example of the Eternal not being inclined to answer prayers of someone who refuses to praise His Son is going too far. First, "lack of praise for Jesus" is not specifically among the things named in the Bible that could keep an individual's prayers from being answered or keep him out of the Kingdom. John was not "refusing to honor his Savior" as you imply, but refusing to sing songs that seemed to ignore the Father. There are at least ten times as many scriptures telling us to praise the Father as the Son. Indeed, the many Protestant songs praising Jesus to the exclusion of the Father probably come from the idea that "the Father gave the harsh old law and the Son came to do away with it." However, as you and others have pointed out, it is Biblical to praise the Son as well as the Father.

Correction should be given with love, mercy, and the understanding that we have made mistakes of our own. The purpose is not to show that the "corrector" knows something that the "corrected" does not know, but to help the "corrected" learn. It is much better to show people the right way and keep comments about what is wrong to a minimum. Sarcasm and put-downs usually cause people to lose interest and give up on the correction. Many years ago, I can remember people telling me I was "in bondage" in the WCG—had they factually pointed out the scriptural difficulties with government rather than use such strong words, I might have seen the problems then. It is best to start a correction by explaining what the other person is doing right and by showing an understanding of why they might be making their mistake.

Keep up your good work. We continue to get requests for your publication, The Fellowship Commentator.

—NSE

Answering the Lord's Prayer:
A Step in the Decay of the Faith?

Letter: August 25,1996

Dear Mr. Edwards,

Your long essay "Answering the Lord's Prayer" was definitely thought-provoking, but a call for greater generalized (ecumenical?) Christianity may be another step in the great latter-day decay of the true faith—the "great falling away"(2Thes 2:3)... toward homogenized Christianity and global religion.

Rather than generalized Christianity—which did not yield miracles and great growth when the church was united under Catholicism in early centuries—perhaps we must keep seeking new truths and visions until we get the right combination! Mr. Armstrong took major steps in this direction, but more are needed, since he stopped too early to focus on building his denomination, WCG, which was not miracle-prone although it did grow spectacularly—and now much of it is falling away, as predicted.

What "new truths" are needed? All I can say is, keep reading the Bible. Keep studying. Keep praying. And keep publishing new concepts. Sooner or later the right combination will spring forth via the Holy Spirit.

Yours in Christ,

—Gary Semanision Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Response: When this article referred to other people who the Eternal might be working with, it was not advocating generalized Christianity of any kind of ecumenical movement. The vast majority of "Christians" do not know what they or their church organization believes and their religion has little influence on their life. We are saying that there may be people who did not come from "Church of God" groups that have the holy spirit—people from which we can learn some things.

Thank you for your encouragement.

—NSE

Interesting Commentary from Spain

Letter: August 4, 1996

Dear Mr. Edwards,

Thank you for your short note informing me that a package of literature had been mailed to me by surface. It has meanwhile arrived. You were as good as your word. Thank you for all "Servants' News" and other literature which I am still in the process of reading.

I am amazed at the multitude of new churches and groups and ministries which have cropped up, and practically all in the USA. It would seem that not only all that is bad comes from America, but also a lot that is "good" or what passes for good. Then, nobody is good and neither are their works. The hierarchical structures still go on in the big churches and even more so in the new UCG. But also a lot of these individual groups and ministries are suffering from the same, as it were, ingrained attitude of the churches they used to belong to. They all refuse to answer letters, either because they are supposedly too busy or they are still under the misconception that only what they tell is the truth. If you make any enquires or argue about one or more points in their articles, you normally will not hear from them again. Some of these groups or ministries or whatever you want to call them have new truths, like when the Sabbath starts and how long it lasts, from sunrise to sunset, as it is mentioned in the Bible, "remember to keep my Sabbath day holy. " Or that the Passover is a High day Sabbath. There are plenty of issues which should be debatable by the readers of all these various publications, but there does not seem to be an organ amongst all these entities which stimulates readers' participation.

Response: It is interesting that you mention most of the new ministries being in the USA. That is probably natural in that the USAwas founded on the principle of individual and private effort. While much of the freedom in this country is gradually being eroded, it is still possible to start a ministry without any need to gain the approval of the government or any other controlling body.

We are sorry to take so long to respond to your letter. We are sad that this is such a common problem. As more people come to help us, we will try to make sure that every letter requesting an answer receives one. The only reason we do not answer letters is for lack of time. We are not afraid to say we do not have the answer to a Bible question.

Organizations that teach they are the only, or the main "True Church" on Earth have a different problem. They get doctrinal questions that they cannot answer, also, but it is very hard for them to tell anyone that. If they say that they do not know or if they answer it wrong, it would be hard to claim that they have a special relationship with the Eternal—especially if the letter-writer asks the same question of other groups and gets better answers from them than the "One True Church" organization.

We will also be honest with you and say that most groups tend to give a lower priority to international mail. There is a great tendency for circulation lists to grow large, and for contributions to be small. We will send the same literature to international individuals that we send to those in the USA, but we often use Surface mail which can take a couple of months.

We agree that there are plenty of worthwhile issues to be covered and we hope to cover some of them in Servants' News as time permits.

Letter: So when someone suggested to start the LRCG, the Living Room Church of God, I became very enthusiastic and wrote a letter to the gentleman concerned making a few suggestions how to get this off the ground. Neither to this letter nor a previous one did I receive a reply. Someone in Canada sent a lot of interesting literature without me having asked for it, all new truths. I shot a few holes in it and that was the last I heard from these people. Another gentleman who calls himself a prophet and is the only one "with all the truths" also sent uncalled for info, very interesting indeed, but as soon as I pointed out some untruths and doubted some of his sayings, I never heard from him again. And so I can go on, there are plenty others. It seems all they want is the same as what the WWCG wanted, pay, pray and no say. Someone heading a group of 3000 followers threatened me with the wrath of God because I did not agree with what he said, and because I had asked him why he never had acknowledged my freewill offering, etc. His magazine makes interesting reading but it is more "flash" than "prophecy" so I disassociated myself from this man.

Response: We are continually amazed at how many groups are ready to severely judge others who do not understand the Scriptures as they do. Numerous scriptures show that we are not to judge the eternal fate of others now, but that it is being withheld for a later time. To me, pronouncing a judgment now in the name of the Eternal (unless he supernaturally tells us His judgment) is breaking the third commandment.

Letter: So what is going on Mr. Edwards? Will we never get rid of all these high-handed, proud and haughty ministers who still are of the opinion that they are the know-it-alls, "God's special representatives through whom God only is making himself known"? I am a lone brother in the wilderness of Spain. Can you imagine that I get pretty discouraged by all this? After the WCG debacle I was hoping that things would change, no more government from the top down, but from the bottom up. Thank you very much for the article "How Does the Eternal Govern Through Humans?" A very thorough study indeed. But will it ever come about? You are one of the few propagating this. I know Jim Rector is, see attached, so why do not you get together and work this out further? Why is there so little unity amongst the brethren or striving for unity? Why does every group, ministry, etc., want to carry on on its own? Is everybody more interested in having his own power base than working together for the glory of God? Are we not all working for the same goal, finding the truth of the Bible, bringing the gospel, expanding the work of God?

Response: Jim Rector, Ray Wooten, myself and others do work together. We share many of the same ideas on government, local congregations, spiritual gifts, etc. We speak at each other's Feasts, Services, Conferences, etc. We recommend each other's publications. Yet, we do not agree on every point of doctrine. If we tried to consolidate into one organization, discuss doctrine until we all agreed (or "kicked out" those who didn't agree), and set standards for all of the local congregations—we would find ourselves creating a organization very similar to what we left. We believe that the key to unity among the brethren is to accept others even if we have some doctrinal differences and to rely on the power of the Eternal to do His work through us rather than trying to create a big organization that will do the work.

In cases like your own, where you have years of Bible study but nobody with which to fellowship, I suggest that you seek the Eternal's will and, if He encourages you, start a congregation in your own area.

Letter: It seems to me that for each individual the best way to go about finding the truth is to get as much information as possible together, read it all, digest it all, meditate over it, check it out against the Bible, and then come to a personal decision, whether right or wrong, because God will know that we have exerted ourselves and done our best to get at the truth even though the truth will escape us most of the time. Because why is Elijah going to come back other than to restore all truths? So how much truth have we come up with? Probably very little. Maybe we will all be surprised in the very near future how many of our cherished truths will turn out to be fallacies.

Response: We agree! Some groups believe that Herbert Armstrong was the Elijah and restored all things—yet they have added their own "new understanding" to his teaching. Truth #1 of Armstrong's 18 restored truths was government—he taught that the Eternal would always correct the man "at the top," but most people now realize that He lets some human leaders do what they want.. Nevertheless, it is amazing how many groups acknowledge that Armstrong was not the Elijah, yet they think they have 90% or more of the truth anyway. To us, it is obvious that we need some kind of direct revelation to help us understand so we can more perfectly worship the Eternal and do His will. If that revelation is from "Elijah," may the Eternal speed the day of his arrival.

I noticed that you do get a lot of mail, so one more or less will hardly add to the workload. I imagine you are a very busy man and that there hardly even will be time for individual answers. So I am not expecting too much in that respect. Still I hope you realize, and I wish others would, that it gives a lone brother away in God's spiritual boondocks quite an uplift if he receives a personal note or letter once in a while from teachers situated in a faraway country like the States is for me.

I read with interest you "Biblical Calendar Basics" article. I hope you will let me have the follow-up article in due course. There seems to be too many calendars around. I take it that you know what the "Book of Jubilees" mentions, that a year has 364 days and that Israel will go wrong if they do not keep a 364 day year. "For this reason I command you and testify to you that you may testify to them; because after your [Moses'] death your children [the Israelites] will disturb them, so that they will not make the 364 days only, and for this reason they will go wrong as to New [cycles] and seasons and Sabbaths and festivals [Jubilees 6:38] Also there were apparently 30 days in each month from the 2nd month till the 7th month according to Gen. 7 & 8.

[literature request deleted]

Thank you again for all the material sent, thank you for the wonderful work you are doing. Maybe I will hear from you some time. May the God of Israel bless you and all those working with you.

Sincerely yours

—Jurjen Kuipers Postema

Aptdo. Correos 75

03530 La nucia, Prov. Alicante

SPAIN

Response: We hope some of the other Servants' News readers who have time to correspond will write to you.

I have not studied the book of Jubilees, but I am aware of a number of calendar systems that propose either a fixed length year, or a fixed length month. The problem with a 364-day year is that it deviates from the Sun cycles by 1¼ days each year. After 146 years with such a calendar, the summer and winter months will be completely reversed. Genesis shows that there were five months in a row that had 30 days, but it does not say that every month has 30 days. If people at that time were observing the moon to start lunar months, it is possible that clouds from the flood obscured the new moon and they used the maximum length month (30 days) five times in a row. This is especially likely since there may have been many cloudy days and nights right after the flood. Also, 29½ days is the average length of a lunar month., Even with perfect weather, the observable new-moons do not always occur in alternating periods of 29 and 30 days. There are sometimes multiple 29-day months and sometimes multiple 30-day months in a row. I need to learn a lot more about the calendar.

I pray that you hold fast and that you find fellowship with other believers.

—NSE

Member since 1959 Comments on Various "COG" Literature

Letter: November 13, 1996

Dear Mr. Edwards:

I wish to thank you for sending me your article, "How Does The Eternal Govern Through Humans?", and the last 2 issues of Servants' News. To say I was impressed would be putting it mildly. I'm sorry that I didn't subscribe earlier, but have found the overwhelming majority of COG literature to be virtually worthless to me. Please don't misunderstand. I'm not saying there aren't any good articles in the literature of the various COG publications, but for someone who started attending Radio COG in l959, I just can't see reading the same old, same old over and over. The Bible is a huge book with many subjects, but only a handful are ever addressed by these groups, RM's statement that GCG "preaches the whole truth", to the contrary.

The only 2 exceptions I've found are The New Millennium put out by ACD and Prophecy Flash put out by Triumph COG. PF can get pretty far out at times, but overall, I think they have a lot to offer. Now, I'm happy to say the exceptions are up to 3, thanks to Servant's News .

For several years I've been reading and studying material—magazines, newsletters and books from 3 sources: Sacred Name groups, Messianic Jewish groups and books and articles by Orthodox rabbis in addition to some Orthodox rabbinical newsletters. I can truthfully say my spiritual knowledge and understanding have literally exploded in this time. Though WCG did teach some truth, they were only kindergarten level compared to these other people. I'm not saying that to be mean—I'm merely stating a fact.

After stating all of the above, you can imagine my delight upon reading about Sacred Namers, Messianic Jews and Orthodox Jews in your literature. SUPERB! It was also wonderful that some of your people attended a Sacred Name conference. As I'm sure you're aware, there is much intolerance against Sacred Namers in the COG community and near persecution especially from CGI, where Sacred Namers were branded as a major heresy at the FOT in 1994.

While it seems that more and more brethren are looking into things Jewish, there is, on the other hand a growing and ominous trend in many other COG groups and even in some Sacred Names groups to deride, belittle and plain out lie about Jews and Judaism. Some have gone so far as to accuse the Jews of human sacrifice.

I have found that when I learn something from a Jewish source and try to share it, I'm met with either silence or disbelief or, in some cases, outright anger. If I share these things without giving the source, it is usually accepted. How sad!

Mr. Edwards, I would like to ask you 2 questions now. #1 I notice that you say The Eternal, Our Father, The Messiah, The Savior again and again. You seldom, unless in a direct quote, use God and Christ. Are you on the verge of accepting the Sacred Names? I am not being judgmental or critical, but I know that some people do this when making the transition from the common titles to the Sacred Names. I know it took me longer to accept them than it should have. I nibbled around the edges of this for a very long time. I am asking my question strictly out of curiosity.

Speaking of Sacred Name groups, I know personally of 2 who are extremely dogmatic and judgmental. Lots of knowledge but not much humility or mercy. YNCA (Yahweh's New Covenant Assembly) is totally unlike them. They put out an excellent magazine called Light. Please let me know if you would like their address.

My 2nd question is of a different nature and I'm sorry I have to bring it up. In the August 1996 issue of Servants' News on page 11 a mention was made of a Dan Gayman of Missouri. Though a Missouri phone number was given for him, his church or assembly affiliation was not given. His presentations were described as "incredibly energetic and powerful". By now you are probably wondering what my problem is. So, without further ado, I know of a Dan Gayman from The Church of Israel in Schell City, MO. This group IS RACIST BEYOND BELIEF. They say that the Jews are the literal, physical seed of Satan and that "non-whites" are the beasts of the field" created before Adam was created. They also, call them Anthropoids. They put out a series of tapes on ANTHROPOIDOLOGY. I have 8 tapes from them, but have only played one to date. One statement on the tape is that in major American and European cities many white people disappear., never to be heard of again. Their explanation is that they are kidnapped and EATEN, YES, EATEN, BY BLACKS. Mr. Gayman has a booklet entitled, "Do All Races Share In Salvation?" He feels only whites do—he was quoted in The Sabbath Sentinel saying this many years ago. I wrote a letter of complaint to TSS and they dropped this group from advertising in TSS. Mr. Gayman is considered to be the most desired and coveted speaker by the Aryan Nation.

Now it is POSSIBLE this is a different Dan Gayman, but 2 Dan Gaymans from Missouri who both are fantastic speakers seems to be more than coincidental.

Now, it is ALSO POSSIBLE that Mr. Gayman has repented of this horrific evil and has instructed his followers to do likewise, but I sincerely doubt this. I have seen not a thread of evidence that he has changed in this regard. If you know differently, please advise. This sin, like any other sin if repented of. will be forgiven. Please comment on this whole matter. If this is the same Dan Gayman, and he is unrepentant, please WARN YOUR READERS ABOUT HIM. These people are more than wrong. THEY ARE DANGEROUS.

After all of this unpleasantness, I would like to place an order for the following materials: [Literature request omitted.]

I thank you for your kind attention to this letter.

Sincerely,

—Mrs. D S

Response: It is unfortunate that so many Sacred Name groups are so dogmatic. Many of them take the approach that if you do not pronounce "the Name" exactly their way, you do not have salvation. This is especially difficult to understand when we realize that we know of no group who used their pronunciation prior to this century. Nevertheless, there are many sacred name groups who are more accepting of others—they see it as one of many important, but not essential doctrines. I believe the sacred names groups have an undeniably good point when they teach that "Lord" is a bad translation for the Eternal's name: YHVH. Hosea 2:16-17 shows that there are people who are using the wrong names for the Eternal:

"And it shall be, in that day," Says the LORD, "That you will call Me 'My Husband,' And no longer call Me 'My Master' [Hebrew baaliy ], For I will take from her mouth the names of the Baals, And they shall be remembered by their name no more.

The word "Lord" means "master" and conveys neither the sound nor the meaning of the Hebrew YHVH. "Lord" is a good translation for "Baal," which means "master" or "boss." This is probably what the above verse is referring to. Note that the Eternal recognizes that people are talking to Him when they use these names of Baals, though He does not like it. This is in contrast to the teaching of some groups that unless we use the right name, He is not listening. I have read conflicting research on the origin of the words "God," "Christ" and "Jesus." Some say they are essentially more "names of Baals" and others say they are reasonable words representing the "Supreme Diety," "the Anointed" and "the Greek version of the name Yeshua." For now I use "Eternal," "Savior" and "Messiah" because they are accurate descriptions and not offensive to most readers. If I decided to use a particular pronunciation for the name of the Father or the Son, it would take me months of research before I could adequately defend the one I chose to use.

I think we are talking about the same Dan Gayman. I understand he believes the "Satan's Seed" doctrine: that Blacks, Jews and maybe some others are physical descendants of the Devil and are not able to receive salvation. They will quote scriptures such as John 8:44 to prove their idea. How they resolve all of the clear scriptures that talk about converted Jews, even Pharisees like Paul, I do not know.

We completely disagree with this doctrine and are sad that so many have held it for so long. The reason is probably similar to why some of us have held onto false doctrines for a long time: because we met primarily with people who agreed with us and spent little time investigating what our group believed. When we did study, we looked for things that only reinforced our belief. For example, whenever we saw democracies or committees in trouble, we said, "that is because they don't have 'government from the top down'." When we saw autocratic religious leaders who led their people to disaster, we did not talk much about form of government then. Similarly, there are stories of modern cannibalism in this country (often associated with Satanism) by both whites and blacks. Gayman's group might only look for instances where blacks did it, and then falsely assumes that other whites that disappeared for unknown reasons were eaten.

If people with these doctrines remain isolated, they may grow worse and worse in them. If they are willing to mix with other Sabbatarians, they may realize that the truth of the Gospel is what is important and that these bizarre doctrines are not helping them. Also, working together with them provides alternatives to people in their groups that may come to an understanding of their error, but wish to continue in the part of their doctrine that is good. Most of the other doctrines held by this group are clearly from the Bible and you and I would have little disagreement with them.

The one teaching is wrong, but little more wrong than the many groups which say you be a part of their group have salvation. In the New Testament, we found many who had a very difficult time believing that Gentiles could be saved—it was common for Jews to call Gentiles "dogs" (Matt 15:26-27). Others, who were considered believers, taught that circumcision was necessary for salvation (Acts 15:1).

I know of people who believe the "Satan's seed" doctrine who attend with some of the major "Church of God" groups, though they do not actively push it on others. They may not be very effective in preaching the gospel to blacks and Jews, but they can be otherwise kind and serving in a congregation. We hope they will see the error and eventually change. If someone begins to take evil action: vandalizing, robbing or killing people they believe to be "sub-human," then I feel that the Eternal's people must separate from them lest an evil name be brought upon us. If you have any evidence that this has happened, please let me know.

—NSE

Godly Unity

Letter: July 12, 1996

Dear Norm,

Thanks so much for sending the Servants' News to us, both back and current issues. Enclosed is a small donation to help continue this service. My husband and I are very happy with the meaty articles and have been telling everyone about them. It is doing much to break down the "barriers" among the peoples of God. At this time we would also like to request the following literature [request removed].

A thought on unity. I think that Jesus Christ gave us the perfect definition of unity. We are called the Bride of Christ. We are likened to a body, each with differing functions. Has it occurred to us to wonder if maybe, because each of us humanly are unable to comprehend the fullness of God, that He, in His infinite wisdom gave each of us a small part of what He has to understand? Then He tells us to "esteem others better than ourselves." Would it not stand to reason that we are to esteem others as greater because God gave them a portion of Himself that He did not give us and that maybe we are to learn from one another, and if we learn from one another with humility and love and learn to work with one another that together we would constitute a fit Bride for Christ? We don't have to think exactly alike on every doctrinal issue, but we must strive to act exactly alike in love for each other, truly esteeming others better than ourselves. Most of all striving to become vessels fit for the service of God and Jesus Christ. I'm not very good at putting into words what I feel, but I feel one of the reasons God has scattered us is so we might learn the definition of true, Godly, unity.

Again, thank you for the wonderful service you are doing.

With Christian love,

—Judy Blackney, Chilcoot, CA

Response: We appreciate your thoughts very much, and hope our readers will as well. When Paul discusses the many members in our Savior's Body (1Cor 12), he warns against one part trying to be another part and against one part saying to the other: "I have no need of you." If we look at our own human body, we find that it is designed to deal with imperfection: If we cut ourselves, strain a muscle or break a bone, our body has mechanisms to repair the damage. We do not "cut off" a member simply because it failed to do a job or because it is injured. It remains a part of the body and the rest of the body will compensate for it until it heals. The only time we do "cut off" a member is when it has gangrene—is so badly injured that it will never recover and leaving it on will certainly destroy the rest of the body. And when it does go, it goes with sadness.

—NSE

Go From One Despot to Another?

Letter: August 4, 1996

Dear Mr. Norman Edwards,

As "members" of the WCG (I'm ashamed to say) for a long time, my husband 33 years and myself 25 years, we are beginning (!) to have a serious conscience-conflict with the leadership and their doctrines.

Their governmental system is ALL wrong.

Their doctrines follow the Protestant line. That's fine for the Protestants, but they're not my example; Christ is!

We're not going to go from one despot to another. Hence, we are interested in what your group, if may use that term, has to offer.

Christ's way is simple and loving and no burden at all. We need to read and hear a wide variety in order to grow mentally. We need some outside stimulation on spiritual matters where we are free to discuss, even disagree.

We're no longer willing to "check our brains at the door" or abdicate our personal responsibilities regarding our spiritual lives. We, individually, are accountable for our choices before God.

Please, would you put us on your list of subscribers for Servants' News. Hope [amount removed] is sufficient for costs, etc.

Thanks so much.

—D. M., New York

Response: We appreciate your desire to seek for truth, not to simply believe what another organization claims is truth. We hope that many of the "church organizations" will wake up and realize that there are many like you who do not believe "the Eternal allowed the demise of one human organization so that men could leave and build a dozen others just like it." We hope that all of these groups will teach their members and preach the gospel to the best of their ability—and stop proclaiming their own "rightness" and acknowledge that the Eternal is working through others.

—NSE

Servants' News Production Cost

Letter: August 1, 1996

Dear Servants' News,

Please send me all back issues of Servants' News that you have available, up to but not including the July 1996 issue. I enclose a check for [amount removed] to help defray your expenses. Thank you.

How much does it cost you to produce and mail each copy of your publication? You have a fine work here and it seems a very cost-effective one. Others could certainly learn from your example (esp. the no copyright).

Sincerely,

—Arlene Schroeder, Yorktown, TX

Response: We keep back issues in stock and are always glad to send them to anyone who asks. It costs us about 35 cents to duplicate one 30-page issue (including paper). We can mail it first class for 78 cents or bulk for about 30 cents. I have already purchased the $6000 machine we use to duplicate it. At this time, the local Michigan brethren are freely giving their labor to collate and prepare the issues for mailing.

The cost of producing the master copy of the newsletter is considerably more. It takes thousands of dollars of office space rental, computers, telephone bills, etc. Much of that is done by volunteer labor, but I work at it full-time and it is expensive to house and feed a family of six. We mail a statement of our receipts and expenses to everyone who contributes over five dollars every three or four months—and a complete statement at the end of the year.

—NSE

UCG Elder Likes Government Paper

Letter: August 6, 1996

Dear Mr. Edwards,

I am a subscriber to your newsletter and consider it quite helpful. Your articles on "Oh how I love your law" are insightful. I feel that the manner you reply to letters is a good way.

I have read your paper on "How Does the Eternal Govern Thru Humans?". I understand your article and believe it. I am a Local Elder in the UCG and was an elder in WCG since 1963. Do you find many ministers in any of the "Churches of God" coming to the conclusions stated in the article?

[lit. request deleted]

Enclosed is a check [amount removed] to carry on your activity for God. We wish you well.

—Texas

Response: We have heard from a number of "ministers" and "elders" who believe hierarchical government is wrong and believe the work should be done by people filled with the holy spirit. They understand that their "ordination" does not make them a minister, but their service does. However, it is a little more difficult to find individuals that actually begin to work on that basis—but there are some.

How Does the Eternal Govern Through Humans has some mistakes—some Greek interpretations that are not utterly provable. Some people have rejected it due to these comparatively minor points. I plan to revise it during the next few months and produce a new version that will be much harder to reject if one is honestly seeking truth.

—NSE

What Are Your Qualifications?

Letter: July 30, 1996

Dear Mr. Edwards,

I got my "In Transition" of July 22,1996 this morning. In the column NEWS &NOTES of the Churches of God I have read that you have moved to Charlotte. I am not sure whether my letter of July 17, 1996 sent to Springdale AR has arrived and been forwarded to your recent address. That's why I send you a copy of my letter to you again.

I hope that you will respond to my questions on page 3 and let me know whether the original letter with enclosure to you has arrived in the meantime. I am sure that you will be extra busy because of the move to Charlotte, so I will have to be patient of course.

[His question was:]

Is your work a One Man Work? What is your "Curriculum vitae" [brief biographical resume of one's career] in the religious field?

Thank you, Mr. Edwards.

—Frans Louwinger, the Netherlands

Response: I personally do more of the work for Servants' News than any other one person, though it could not be produced without many volunteers. Much of the writing, editing, and even decisions as to what will go in each issue are in the hands of those who volunteer help.

I do not feel that my personal background is all that important. I would never want someone to believe what I say simply because I have "great qualifications." If you can verify what I teach is from the Bible and history, and if the holy spirit confirms it, then you can use it. Nevertheless, I am not ashamed of my past:

I attended with a variety of Protestant and evangelical groups while growing up (near Denver, Milwaukee, and Seattle). I began attending with the Worldwide Church of God as a high school Senior in 1973. I graduated first in my class from Ambassador College in 1978, majoring in business and theology. I worked for the WCG through 1992 in technical areas that brought me in personal contact with many in that organization. I resigned to be one of the original members of of the Global Church of God where I served as Secretary of the Board, as editor of the Global Church News, on the doctrinal committee, etc. I resigned from the GCG in 1994 so I could study independently. I began Servants' News in the spring of 1995, not really knowing whether it would ever economically support my family or not.

These qualifications mainly show that I have experience with a diversity of people and that I should be able to speak their language and help them.

—NSE

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