Letters& Responses

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.

Already Understood Ephraim to be USA and Manasseh to be Britain

Letter: December 15,1996

Dear Mr. Edwards,

Very recently, I was shown a copy of your November Servants' News which contained several articles on Ephraim being the USA and Manasseh being Britain. I am curious and wish to know what reference source material(s) was/were used to inspire the writing of these articles—if this can be divulged?

Several years ago, I learned about this and became convicted on it (it's a reversal from what I had learned in WCG, which I no longer attend), and the person I learned it from received information about it from someone who attended Ambassador College in the early 1970(s).

I think it is encouraging to see people print the Truth when it is adequately proven,—and have the guts to do so—as I believe you have shown.

I would like to know if you would please put me on your mailing list? Also, if supply is available, I would like to have a copy of all back issues, including this November copy of which someone had given me a xerox copy of (Ephraim/Manasseh articles). This person knew I was aware of the "interchange" of who Ephraim/Manasseh were—compared to what I was taught in the past.

Finally, do you have something that explains who you are and what you represent.

Thank you and thanks for "standing in the breach" for the Word of God!

Sincerely,

—John Gordon, Nashua, NH

Response: The first person from which I first heard about the Ephraim and Manasseh reversal was Harry Curley, the writer of one of the related Servants' News articles. Harry worked at the WCG headquarters during the 1970s through the 1990s, but I think he came to the conclusion on his own. I have heard the idea from a number of others since then. I did not use any one else's material for my article.

We will add you to our mailing list and send you all of the back issues. The first issue contains our goals and purposes which have largely remained unchanged. My background is covered in the answer to a letter in the August 1995 Servants' News on p 14.

—NSE

"Friends in Pasadena" Letter

Letter: July 22, 1996

Dear Mr. Edwards:

What, exactly, is the "Friends of Pasadena" newsletter? I've heard it mentioned in a couple of places but without explanation...

I would be interested in hearing of your experiences in Global during the time not long before your departure.

Thank you. Sincerely,

—Illinois

Response: The "Friends of Pasadena" letter was a six-page letter written primarily by Norman Edwards with help from his wife and a few other friends in Pasadena. It was mailed in late December of 1992 to about half of the Worldwide Church of God ministry and a few hundred other individuals (the mailing list was constructed from the names and address in the WCG family album and telephone directories). The letter asked WCG leadership to be more forthright in their approach to doctrinal changes. It also mentioned the enrollment in Protestant colleges of some of the WCG leaders and other facts that were not commonly known among the WCG membership. I do not agree with everything in the letter today—it placed too much emphasis on retaining the old ways of Herbert Armstrong and the WCG. Nevertheless, it raised a number of questions that the WCG leadership found difficulty in answering. A six-page rebuttal to it was printed in the Pastor General's Report several months later.

The letter contained no return name or address because I was still employed by the WCG at that time. I felt that I must attend with some church organization, and I did not think I was yet ready to lose my job and be disfellowshipped. The next Sunday after the letter was mailed, I met in Rod Meredith's home to help lay the plans for the beginning of the Global Church of God. The next day I resigned my job at the WCG (where I had worked for 18 years) and started working on the computer systems for the GCG.

We will gladly send you (or anyone else) a copy of the original Friends in Pasadena letter. Also, I have another letter that explains my relationship with the Global Church of God. One section needs updating, but I will send it as soon as it is ready.

—NSE

"Found Calendar Paper Helpful"

Letter: August 12, 1996

Dear Mr. Edwards,

Thank you very much for the Biblical Calendar Basics. Your approach was refreshing—giving the facts and letting people decide for themselves. That type of courage is rare among God's leaders.

On page 8, under the section entitled "How does the Jewish calendar work?" you stated that there were references in the Talmud and other histories indicating how to keep the Sabbath when it comes after the Day of Atonement. May I please have a copy of those references (bibliography)? We are examining the calendar and that may be very helpful to us. Thank you.

Sincerely,

—Colleen DuBose, Phoenix AZ

Response: The specific fact that shows that the Jewish calendar has changed are the references to keeping the Sabbath when Day of Atonement falls on a Sunday or a Friday (it never does in the present Jewish calendar). The references, from the Soncino edition of the Talmud are:

Shabbath 114b (See footnote 16)

Menachoth 100b (See footnote 12)

K'rithoth 19a (See footnote 10)

In the next issue of Servants' News, we will be covering the calendar convention in Dallas, TX. We should be able to list a lot more sources from information gathered there.

—NSE

If Not Mr. or Mrs., then What?

Letter: July 18, 1996

Dear Mr. Edwards:

Regarding Norman Brumm's article in the May 1996 issue entitled "The Three H's of True Christianity...", I respectfully ask how we are to address you. I understand not addressing another man by "Father," "Master," etc. However, I have been taught for 60 years to address any man, especially one my senior, as "Mr. So-and-So." Likewise to address a woman as Miss or Mrs. However, Mr. Brumm implies we are not to address people this way. Maybe I missed the point, but would like it clarified.

Name withheld

Response: The instructions in Matt 23:8-11, are to "call no man father," and to not be called "rabbi" or "master." "Father," in an ultimate sense means "Creator" and is a title reserved for the Eternal. Our Savior told His disciples not to be called by some exalted name because it makes class distinctions and takes away from the attitude of brotherhood and service that leaders should have.

It is not a sin to call other people by lofty sounding titles as long as they are not attributes or names exclusively belonging to the Eternal. We give two examples where it was done in the Bible:

But he [Paul] said, "I am not mad, most noble Festus, but speak the words of truth and reason" (Acts 26:25).

It seemed good to me [Luke] also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write to you an orderly account, most excellent Theophilus (Luke 1:3).

Festus was not always truly a noble person (Acts 25:9), but Paul addressed him the way he expected to be addressed. It is not wrong to address people as "Mr." or "Mrs." today if it is what they are expecting. By using these words, neither you nor they think you are idolizing them. Nor are we required to stop everyone from calling us "Mr." or "Mrs." There are Bible examples of people who used flattering titles to address converted leaders. Sometimes the leaders corrected them, but sometimes they did not. The sin is when a fellow brother decides that he must be called " Mr. Smith" (or any other name) by his brethren.

—NSE

Where is the Third Resurrection?

Letter: August 10, 1996

Dear Mr. Edwards,

I think that you should be made privy of the fact that your publication has drawn us closer to God and given us insights we had never dreamed of. This past week we attended Ron Dart's Christian Renewal Conference in Hattiesburg, MS, and are thrilled to hear Jim Rector, Ray Wooten, and Ron Dart.

I tried to contact you in the past weeks. We attended a living room Church of God meeting and somebody asked me where the third resurrection is mentioned in the Bible and I was at a loss. In WCG I had been taught about the three resurrections and never questioned it. We looked it up in the Bible when we got home and it really doesn't say "third resurrection." They maintain there are only two. What does God's Word say about this?

Sincerely

—Ken Omick, Wisconsin

Response: In this aspect, resurrections are a lot like tithing. The WCG taught three resurrections and three tithes, but the phrases "second tithe," "third tithe," "second resurrection" and "third resurrection" never appear in the Bible. However, the phrase "first resurrection" does appear in Revelation 20:5-6. Also, we find the term "second death" in Revelation 2:11, 20:6, 20:14 and 21:8. These scriptures are a very strong indication that there is more than one resurrection, but they say very little about how many more. If we want to count every possible resurrection, we must count the resurrection of our Saviour and the many people who were raised back to physical life through His ministry and the ministry of the apostles and prophets.

I think most are interested in counting major resurrections involving many people. The "first resurrection" in Revelation 20:5-6 is clearly for those who have died following the Eternal. Later verses in the chapter show a resurrection to judgement. How long those people will live and what chance they have of repenting is not perfectly clear. Verse 15 says "And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire." This appears to be in contrast to verse 12 where people are "judged... according to their works." In my understanding, it was this difference that prompted the "second resurrection" (v. 12) and "third resurrection" (v. 15). doctrines.

In my view the most important thing to see is that we will be judged according to our works now, and that some people will come to an end in the lake of fire for their deeds. Whether this happens all in one resurrection or in two or more separate ones is nearly irrelevant. Does anyone believe that they will be able to escape the judgement "on a technicality"—maybe by telling God he brought them up in the wrong resurrection? I do not think so.

We believe this is an excellent example of the harm done when organizations write extensive doctrinal statements. Very difficult-to-prove doctrines are elevated to the same level of dogma as obvious statements from the scriptures. There is no reason why two brethren cannot completely get along, worship, and serve together, even though one may believe there are two resurrections and the other three. Does anyone believe that a person who seeks and obeys the Eternal with his whole heart will not be in the first resurrection because he doesn't understand exactly how many resurrections there are? It is likely that many of the brethren that died before the writing of Revelation did not understand it.

We encourage you to continue in your studies. Every word of the Bible is worth understanding.

—NSE

Over-zealous Music Letter Apology, Ridding Ourselves of "Elitism"

Letter: December 11, 1996

Dear Norman:

Greetings once more and thank you very much for your considered and kind response to my letter of November 5 as published in SN, November l996 issue.

You are right. 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. God will have mercy upon whom He will have mercy. And you are right again in your statements about corrective actions, put-downs, and sarcasm. I wish to apologize to John and Deb Sash, and to anybody else, for that matter, who might have found my letter to be offensive in that regard. It was not my intent to be offensive, but merely to emphasize the gravity of a subject which appears to be one symptom of an earlier-taught elitist position. And most certainly no sarcasm or put-down was part of my thought processes as I composed my letter, even though it admittedly could be taken that way. Please forgive me. As to the singing of praises in worship of the Father and/or Christ, the final test is of one's heart, and probably balance is key.

Having been involved with WCG from the mid-sixties to 1981, and then later with CGI up until the fall of 1994, it has been my experience, especially noted in hindsight, that elitism was most definitely taught, not only there, but elsewhere as well. I think the majority of folks did buy into that "ruling class" notion, including myself. But throwing off shackles of elitism is much more than simply playing musical churches. One does not unlearn very much without a decided effort accompanied by plenty of heartaches and tears. And it does pain me to see the influence of those days reflected today. Yet, we have to grow through these things somehow, one step at a time. Sad to say, authoritarianism is alive and well, and promoted to one degree or another in a number of religious organizations in America, Sabbath-keeping and Sunday-keeping alike.

The fault, however, does not lie with the Sash family or similar folks who are doing the very best they can under the circumstances. The fault lies with the hierarchical leadership of elitist churches who have merchandised the brethren time and again, some of who continue to do so to this very day. How many times have we been "warned" as it were, about "those Protest ants" out there and others who were so beneath us in wisdom, un derstanding, or adherence to scripture? Warned that they only traveled the narrow scriptural paths of their seminary teachings, never daring to stray into areas of theology we had re-opened? How pompous we were. The instances of this kind of teaching abuse by the ministry heaped upon little ones is legion. I say abuse, because to mislead any of God's children is abusive, and those doing the misleading will certainly have to give an accounting for their misdeeds. Yet, this fact does not get abused sheep off the hook; we all bear a certain amount of responsibility for what we learn, accept, and follow.

Our challenge, perhaps, is to remember that the price of freedom is diligence, and the only insurance against theological error and nonsense is real Biblical knowledge, something that never comes easy, and something that possibly may never be fully attained by any of us in this life. Paul said "now we see through a glass, darkly," but he did not say we have to stay that way. In the meantime, we look to Christ, "the author and finisher of our faith," and rely on God's spirit to guide us through this valley of the shadow of death. A lot of work needs to be done, Norman. I appreciate the service of the Servants' News crew.

Sincerely,

—F. Paul Haney, Watertown, CT

Response: Thank you for the excellent example of how we can discuss these issues, learn from each other and remain friends. It is nice that you can see that you are still rooting out elitism—I still find some of it in my own approach to others.

Out of WCG / Questions on AIDS

Letter: October 24, 1996

Dear Mr. Edwards,

Today, I have received quite a bundle in my mail. Thank you for that! The articles are very interesting I have already read many of them. It is just as in the first period when I first got into contact with the WCG (fall 1990). Due to a less liberal minister, I have gotten much "old" material of the WCG in that first period. After that, I got official information of the liberal WCG. I felt that I did not learn anything at that time. Now it seems that again a time of growth in knowledge is appearing in my life. Your magazine, among others is contributing greatly. Again, thank you!

Furthermore I have one question: in your July 1995 article, Oh, How I Love Your Law!, you mention on page 10, "Modern research has shown that AIDS and other diseases are a direct result of bestiality". To be honest, I do not know of such research but I gladly would like to know. Do you have some references with which this statement could be backed up?

Sincerely,

—The Netherlands

Response: I have read or heard of the bestiality connection with AIDS in several places over the years, but the only one I could find right now was on page 1 of The Aids Cover-up? by Gene Antonio (San Francisco: Ignations Press, 1987). The AIDS virus has been found years ago in Africa in monkeys and sheep—both animals commonly used by those who practice bestiality. While it is possible that the disease was passed by animal bites or the eating of infected meat, animal bites occur vary rarely, and the virus is usually destroyed by cooking.

It was a mistake for me to make such a dogmatic statement without irrefutable evidence that proves the virus was passed in this manner. Recently, several writers have put forth the theory that AIDS was the product of a biological warfare experiment that was tested in monkeys and sheep and subsequently released into the human population ( Emerging Viruses: Aids and Ebola—Nature, Accident, or Intentional? by Dr. Leonard Horowitz, Tetrahedron Press, 1996, 800-336-9266).

The point of the article is that human suffering is usually caused by human sin—the breaking of the Eternal's law. If any of the above theories prove to be correct, human sin is the cause. It is interesting to note that the people least likely to contract AIDS today are those who live a life based on the Eternal's laws: one heterosexual spouse, no drugs, and avoid hospitals and medical procedures as much as possible.

—NSE

Does the State Get Married, Too?

Letter: December 7, 1996

Dear readers and staff of Servant's News,

I have been reading the thread on an internet forum called Likeminds, on the subject of being legally married, and I think that there are some facts that are not commonly known to the average individual.

We automatically assume that for a marriage to be considered valid, it has to have the approval of the state. But where did we get that idea?

If two people get a marriage license and get married, then the state becomes party to that marriage. The state therefore has a legal right to dictate terms within that marriage or in cases of dispute. The state, in effect is the third party to the marriage. By extension, the state has legal claim to compensation. It may even have rights to assets. The compensations that are obvious are the attorney fees. The attorney, in legal terms, is an agent of the court. The attorney is empowered to secure assets for the state.

All this may sound like protection for the parties in a marriage, but there is a high price to pay for that legal protection.

But why a state license? No one, it seems, questions why two people in love, need the permission of the state. It should suffice that the two people involved would make their vows public, within their community and church.

But why a license? A license is a permission given by the state to perform something that is otherwise illegal. In effect the state considers marriage illegal, unless IT, the state, has a vested interest in that marriage.

More people opt out for "common law" marriages as a means of by-passing the state and its invasion of the privacy of the marriage.

Most people in today's society look down their noses on common law marriages. If one seriously considers the legal ramifications of having the state having a stake in one's marriage, then the value of common law marriage becomes obvious.

A common law marriage does not have to be a clandestine non-ceremonial event. It can be a public display of vows with the benefit of witnesses, but with the exception of the state.

I hope that, rather than taking things for granted, we can look at issues in a more in depth manner, which will allow us to be less judgmental and by far the wiser.

Sincerely,

—Donald Steckey Allentown, PA

Response: We certainly do not see any Biblical reason for the state or "the clergy" to be involved in authorizing marriages. Nor does it makes sense for them to decide the terms of a divorce. Paul indicates that believers should not go to this world's courts of law for solutions (1Cor 6). So far, we have not seen any documentation that demonstrates the rights the state has as the result of granting a license. If you have it, we would be most interested.

—NSE

Out After 26 Years of Hierarchy

Letter: December 3,1996

Norm,

The names I submitted to you were people who have asked me to have their names added to your mailing list so they are all aware.

Some of us in this area are just coming to see this government issue in a new and different light so any information you may have that would help our understanding on this matter would certainly be appreciated. I have just come out of Global Church of God and a few of us are now meeting as independent in my living room—it is a very scary undertaking after 26 years under the hierarchical structure but I just don't feel like I can grow in Global anymore.

Anyway, thank you for adding those names to your mailing list and thank you for the Servant's News—I really appreciate it!!

Sincerely,

—R.B.

Response: I can remember that "scary feeling" during some changes in congregations our family made. However, the realization that we are now directly looking to our Father, not to a human organization, more than makes up for it. We learn how to walk by faith in Him. There are now so many ministries assisting independent congregations that they need not to feel alone. There are plenty of conferences, Feasts and other opportunities for fellowship. Also, there are many ways independents can preach the gospel.

On the other hand, there is much more personal responsibility for ourselves and for others. No one is going to try to "make you obey" anymore. May the Eternal bless you in your new group.

—NSE

Independent Believer for 17 Years

Letter: November, 1996

Greetings:

I was enjoying reading the latest SN and I thought I'd give you an update on what's been going on with us.

As you may know, we started attending with GCG back in December 1994 when we moved out here (not long after you moved to Arkansas). (Deleted personal information).

The local group in GCG is a fine bunch of people. The host (in his mid-30s) is a good natured young man and tolerated our "radical" views rather well most of the time. So we sat back, basically kept our opinions concerning the governmental structure of the organization (and other concerns) to ourselves and enjoyed the fellowship of the local people. Our presence taught them a lot. They were totally unaware that there were lots of us (independents) who left in the 70s who were still following God's way and maintaining the faith. They were completely shocked with the standards that we had maintained in the keeping of the Sabbath and the Holy Days, the truth we had maintained and even the growth and the understanding we had experienced simply by leaving WCG and teaching ourselves how to study and research God's Word and receiving inspiration and knowledge from a variety of sources other than those specifically sanctioned by "headquarters". This group up here has really had a learning experience in fellowshipping with us because we've really made it clear that not all independents are kooks who had no good reason to leave other than to exalt themselves into positions of power and authority.

Unfortunately, the leadership of GCG didn't take too kindly to our "independent" ways. It became clear as the months passed that only so much of our "radical" thoughts would be tolerated before and after church services. We did have one-on-one conversations with several of the members who know that something is not quite right with the structure of GCG and have asked us questions regarding our experiences with other groups. But these people have never known anything different and they chose GCG because it was very similar to what they left and they didn't want to change the way they worship. They were open to discussing things that went wrong with WCG but still think that GCG is doing things differently.

However, this past spring, when Mr. Meredith came down hard on independents and free-thinking people, the group here became very concerned about us because they saw these sermons as attacks against people like us. We, because of our talent in music and my husband's ability to speak and to teach, have been very willing to give of ourselves for the betterment of the group. But the reservations concerning the structure remained.

We sent a long letter to Mr. Meredith in the summer telling him quite frankly that he was totally wrong in his attacks against independents. That even though he may be a minister of 40+ years, he most certainly was perceived as one of the "bad guys" during the 60s and 70s when the ministry, under his leadership, was composed of many, many dictators and tyranny abounded. When we left in 1979, it was not so much because of doctrinal differences (only a few were changing at that time that we disagreed with) as it was the tyranny of the local ministry and the horrendous mistreatment of the brethren. People were being disfellowshipped simply because they mentioned the name of GTA, or read a letter from him, or questioned the irrational behavior of people at headquarters or — most ridiculous of all – refused to sign a statement wherein they "vowed" to be totally loyal to HWA. When they asked if they could add "as long as he followed God and Christ" to the "oath", they were told that they couldn't do that, that they had to sign the oath as is. When they refused, they were told that they were no longer in God's Church. This type of tyranny was totally out of control and unbiblical in every sense of the word, but it was being perpetrated on God's people all over the country, depending upon the minister and how much of a dictator he was. This was one of the main reasons we left in 1979. And here Mr. Meredith was, condemning those who left WCG before he did and condemning those who left WCG and didn't join GCG. And some of the sermons at the Feast were coming on strong with God's government and how GCG is portraying that government properly and correctly. Excuse me! I think not!

So when we got home from the Feast , we started working on a letter of resignation. It took about two weeks to finalize but we have sent it to the local minister and we have withdrawn our presence from the local brethren. Several of them understand why we could no longer attend and "support" GCG but others have done exactly what the WCG brethren did to us in 1979 – turned their backs on us. My children are simply amazed by this. They only attended with GCG for two years and they are perplexed and disturbed by this treatment. I told them that I attended in Memphis for 17 years and experienced the very same treatment from people I had grown up with. People I had known my entire life! Is this God's way of handling differences? I think not! Church bashing is totally uncalled for. God's Church is not an organization. God's Church is made up of people from all walks of life, attending all different types of services and learning and growing in God's grace and knowledge. There are too many other things to be dealing with than bashing people who decide they don't want to be a part of a particular organization.. I hope if nothing else that God's people of this day and age learn that lesson because if they don't , they'll not be able to get along with God's people when God decides to unite them and they'll be the ones left behind.

As you can tell, this is a very sore subject and has been for many, many years. My own family turned against me in 1979. My very best friends for my whole life turned against me in 1979. Several different organizations have made us unwelcome because we've tried to "correct them gently" with scripture and love. They refused to take the correction and told us to remove ourselves from their presence. Of these various organizations, none are viable Churches of God any longer. One has split so many times because of the sins of the top man that it has no base. Another went into the occult. Another has become a social club only. And the rest have completely disbanded. They weren't open to discussion, correction, or simple direction. They were solely interested in continuing the faulty government structure so widely accepted as "the way to do it" and which has failed so miserably in the past 10 years, (and longer).

Now I'll come down off my "high horse". My husband and I are doing just fine personally. We are meeting – for the moment – with a local UCG group. But we have not committed ourselves to them. They also have a lot of growth to do and changes in approach and such. But they are a nice group of people and our concern is for our children to have fellowship with others in God's church. So we meet with them with the understanding that our options are open and we are "radical independents". The local ministers have visited us and I'm sure they really don't know quite what to think of us. We are so different from them in our thinking of how God's Work should be done they just look at us and shake their heads. But they didn't forbid us from fellowshipping and that's something in itself.

[Personal section removed]

Wherever we fellowship and wherever we go, we'll maintain our independence. That's just our nature after 17 years of being on our own with no particular allegiance to any organization or group. The strength of God's people is their ability to stand on their own two feet and face all the adversities, trials and tribulations Satan can throw at them. They must be able to stand on their own – no crutches allowed. Leaning on someone or an organization to the extent of not being able to support themselves is a very serious problem that many of God's brethren are facing now. They leaned on an organization for so long that now they are without that organization, they don't know what to do or where to go or how to continue maintaining the faith. It's such a shame.

You guys are doing such a wonderful work putting out the Servants' News. We tried doing something similar back in the early 80s. It was called The Sounding board and had a mailing list all over the world. But the need for it wasn't as great then because the corruptness of the various Church of God organizations in existence back then wasn't as extreme as it is now. My husband wrote many articles for it and for other publications over the years and if he can get them printed up again, we'll send them on to you. (I'm so glad you agree with our basic understanding of a woman's role in the Church. We've believed that for years but you'd be surprised (or maybe not) at the resistance we've met simply because it isn't the general belief accepted by most). It's amazing what getting away from the general mainstream of worship will do for enlightening one's mind. We learned lots when it was just the four of us meeting in my parent's home and studying the Bible and letting it interpret itself rather than taking the word of someone else.

Please keep up the good work and take comfort in knowing that you are doing a wonderful service for God's people.

—Mrs R,

Response: Your letter is a fine expression of your experiences. It is evident that independent congregations have difficulties as do hierarchical ones. However, when the leader of a small independent congregation goes astray, most of his followers leave and his bad administration and teaching comes to an end. However, when people believe that one corporation is "The True Church", then they are trapped there no matter how bad the teaching or the administration may be.

I remember hearing that you had "left the church" back in 1979 and I thought your family was "lost". Now, I know people who have given up on the Eternal completely when the WCG changed and people who will apparently stay in the same organization no matter what it teaches. I now realize it is a mistake to classify anyone as "lost." Some people will view the large number of congregations you have attended as a mark of instability. To me, it shows that you are committed to the Eternal in spite of what organizations do.

I am also glad to see that you still recognize that there are many of the Eternal's people in hierarchical groups and that there are still many things that can be learned and shared there. It is sad to see people in independent congregations who will have nothing to do with people in hierarchical groups and vice versa—how can we severely judge people for having an error that we had ourselves for so many years?

I am sure that your family will continue to be pillars in whatever group you may attend. Thank you for writing.

—NSE

Plan to Rebuild the WCG

Letter: November 29, 1996

To the editor,

God's Government is top down in authority. We are all learning that lesson whether we want to or not.

In the past few years, the successor to Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong failed to hang onto the faith once delivered. He tried to move God's Saints back into the world.

God struck him down with an incurable disease just like some of the kings in ancient Israel were destroyed for their folly.

This is probably the most positive thing to come out of this whole apostate situation we have just been through.

It shows that God will intervene like Mr. Waterhouse told us! God did and will continue to intervene if we do our part by fasting, praying and seeking God's will!

Response: I recall Mr. Waterhouse emphatically telling us that " Herbert W. Armstrong would not die." It is true that Joseph Tkach, Sr. died, but it is hard to prove that he was supernaturally "struck down." He was only a few years short of the seventy years that the scripture allots to man. If we look at the kings of Israel, we find that a great many bad kings reigned a long time. Manasseh, a bad king, reigned 55 years—the longest of any. The vast majority of Israelites lived under a bad king. Did that give them an excuse to follow in the sins of their king? No! Did the Eternal provide some kind of alternate top-down government of prophets or priests ruling over the righteous? No! Elisha thought he was the only righteous one, even though there were 7000 others that he did not know about (1Kngs 19:14,18).

We believe that the most positive thing to come out of "this whole situation" is the great amount of Bible study and prayer done by brethren looking into the doctrines that various people teach. There is far more learning and conviction now than there was when most people's personal beliefs were simply a carbon copy of their organization's beliefs.

Letter (continued): We do not need to vote! God through Christ, the Head of the Church is in charge. They know what we need before we even ask it.

Now if we could all see the absolute power we as a collective body really have we could get the work back on track! Our prayers could destroy Mr. Tkach's son and all of the other false ministers that are going along with these Mystery Babylon doctrines!

We are to one day judge angels. This current situation is kid's stuff. Here's what we need to do! All of us need to pray the following:

Response: If "God is in charge," then why do we as humans need to formulate a plan and put it into action? You, Don Wheatley, do not claim that you are the head of the government or that the Eternal has revealed this plan to you. You are asking for our voluntary compliance with your plan—not what we would expect if we are being ruled by a top-down government.

Letter: 1) That God will slay Mr. Tkach, Jr. and the one he would turn the Church over to. They have all been warned repeatedly! They are without excuse!

Response: It is not good to judge another man now. "For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged..." (Matt 7:2). We hope that everyone will repent. Most of us would probably not have kept the ancient kings of Israel on their throwns, but the Eternal did.

Letter: 2) Next, pray that God will show us a more capable man or have Mr. Meredith take the lead position for restoring God's Government in the WCG. He has taken the lead in preaching the Gospel this past year. He has demonstrated to the rest of us that God is working most effectively through him and is the most capable man God is using to do the work.

Response: This is the problem that has plagued many. How can government be hierarchical, yet we are not sure who the head of that government is? From your other letters, Mr. Wheatley, it is clear that you once thought the head was Gerald Flurry, and now you think it might be Mr. Meredith. Leaders of organizations often cite their numbers of members, ministers, radio stations and magazines as proof that they are the place where God is working. These statistics change from year to year. and we have no way to prove their accuracy. If one group runs out of money and another group "takes the lead in preaching the Gospel" next year, does the head of the top-down government change? Does anyone really believe that our salvation is based on how we evaluate these statistics?

Letter: 3) Then, let everyone of us write to the WCG, and tell them that unless they turn over the controls of the WCG to the one Christ has chosen, then they too will all be dead men. God will destroy them next and we will fast and pray until one of those two things happen!

Response: We really think it is a mistake to fast and pray until the Eternal does our will. We need to fast and pray until we learn His will. The Eternal can do His work with or without the WCG corporation.

Letter: 4) Put Gerald Flurry in charge of the Herbert W. Armstrong Foundation for preservation of all of Mr. Armstrong's works only if he will submit to God's Government.

Response: Should we preserve all of Mr. Armstrong's works, or should we delete his early doctrines that he later changed and his prophecies that failed?

Letter: 5) Put Mr. Hulme back in his old job with public relations.

6) Let the other ministers in the GCG, PCG and UCG assume the ministerial positions forming the top down government necessary in carrying on the work.

7) Let's go forward with greater conviction than ever and preach the Gospel of the Kingdom of God and warn this world of the coming Great Tribulation and Day of the Lord.

We don't need to vote! If Mr. Meredith gets off track, all we have to do is pray and fast about it. Christ, the Head of the Church will straighten him out! And if he bevels like Mr. Tkach, Sr did, then he's a dead man too and he and all of us know it!

Wake up, former and current members of the Worldwide Church of God!! Pray that God will destroy the leadership in the WCG so we can get the work back on track like we did in the early 80's!! Time's a wasting!!

Response: This is a very interesting attempt to unify the various groups and give all of the leaders some kind of job. However, most of them have publicly stated that they are not interested in working together. Furthermore, if the plan you have given is God's plan for putting His government back on the track, why did God give it to you instead of His Chosen hierarchical church leader? And if your plan is not God's plan for putting His government back on the track, why are you publicizing it? In reality, it seems that you are following in the American tradition of perceiving a problem, formulating a solution, and trying to convince your peers that your solution is right. We do not believe your solution is the Eternal's will, but we do agree with the method you are using to offer a solution. If all truth from the Eternal comes through a top-down organization of men, then all we need to do is stay home until "God's government" finds us and tells us what to do!

Also, we should ask this question: Should we also continue to pray that the Eternal will put the Seventh Day Baptists, Seventh Day Adventists, Church of God Seventh Day, and other groups "back on the track"? Most Church of God groups trace their history though these groups. Did all of the leaders of each of these groups quickly die after they left their original doctrines? No! Other leaders took over, lived a long time and the groups are all still functioning, today! An honest look at the history of Sabbath-keeping groups shows that there has not been a single hierarchical leader most of the time. We should not be confused if we cannot find one today.

Letter: Mr. Armstrong always focused on the big picture. He was the only one who could unite us on a human level. We need to all fast and pray so we can be united on a spiritual level!

Please take this fax seriously! This may be our last chance!

Response: Our Father in Heaven will unite us on a spiritual level if we will submit to him. He will hear those who seek Him. He is not withholding salvation because there is not a clear hierarchical government to submit to.

Letter: Again, I say, Wake up!! Return to God before it is too late!!

Sincerely,

—Donald Raymond Wheatley

PO Box 20144, Greenville, NC 27858-0144

Response: Your last statement we completely agree with! We appreciate your desire to see the Gospel preached and to see people stand up for the truth. We hope that you and others will see that it is possible to have a close relationship with the Eternal and to do great works in his name regardless of what human organizations do. We need to return to our Father in heaven—not a corporate organization which the Eternal has allowed to decay!

—NSE


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