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.

Is Christ The End of the Law?

Letter: December 21, 1997

Dear Norman,

I have read Romans 10:4 with interest. { Rom 10:4-For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.) What do you think? Is Christ the end of the law (of Moses) or the law (of Christ)? If Christ, then profound meaning concerning this law is realized! Could you possibly study this subject, and publish your results in a forthcoming article? You donít have to give me the credit if you donít want to. Iíll just be pleased to see people reading this truth. You know, I feel this is significant because of our experience in WCG. We were law focused, and it pointed to Christ, the present WCG position, effectively abandoning this law in the process. Nothing is further from the truth. That is what so great a deception there is. If it was the law of Moses, the WCG feels confident that they are right—knocking the law. But please address this issue anyway, and write to me personally if you have time. Much regards.

—Paul Christophy, United Kingdom

Response: Most of the confusion surrounding this verse has to do with multiple meanings of the English word "end," which is used to translate the word telos from the Greek. When most people read the word "end" here, they think of "the termination of something." However, "end" has other definitions, such as "the ultimate state" or "an outcome worked toward."

The Greek telos has a meaning closer to "the ultimate purpose." The same word occurs in the following verse: "Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end [telos] of the Lord (Jms 5:11) Clearly, this is not talking about the "termination of the Eternal," but talking about "the ultimate purpose of the Creator." Likewise, Christ is the ultimate purpose of the law—both the law of Moses and His law. The law leads us to Him, like a schoolmaster (Gal 3:24).

—NSE

Build Bridges Across Corporate Lines

Letter: October 28, 1997

Dear Norman,

I hope you and your staff are well and that you all had a great feast.

Three friends and I went to a United Feast in Weymouth, England. We enjoyed ourselves, took your advice in Servantsí News (didnít rock the boat) and it all turned out well. It was especially nice to see old friends that we hadnít seen for years.

But one thing stands out clearly, and it is the same thing we see in the Church of God at Corinth: I Cor 1:11 (last part) that there are contentions among you. (verse 12): Now this I say that everyone of you saith I am of Paul, and I of Apollos, and I of Cephas, and I of Christ. (verse 13): Is Christ divided?

There are two differences today. 1) Iím of Rod, Iím of Gerald, Iím of Garner Ted, Iím of Bill, Iím of Fred, Iím of United, Iím of Worldwide. So we see more and different names substituted and, 2) Those brethren who follow these different men no longer worship together. At least in Corinth as far as we know they were all still fellowshipping together.

I said to some friends at the feast that its up to us brethren to try and build bridges of friendship between these groups. If you have friends in them, donít cut them off.

Because sadly, I canít see any of these group leaders trying to do it, even though some of them believe the same things. In fact, they are the ones who are dividing up the flock.

Anyway, I have thought this for some time and thought I would share it with you.

Yours sincerely,

—Mike Hurst, England

Response: We agree with you that it is up to the individual brethren to rebuild friendships. The unity solution desired by most of the big groups is for everyone to join their group. That is not happening now, nor can I see any reason why it will happen in the future. We are happy that you made the effort to visit others. Keep it up!

—NSE

Ministers Not To Be In Charge

Letter: December 11, 1997

Hi to All at Servantsí News!

May God richly bless you all and may He guide, lead, and direct your ways and lead you to all truth.

Thank you for Servants News, it is always welcomed in my house, for it challenges me to critically analyze not only what others believe and understand, but what I believe and understand.

Thank you for the Sept/Oct issue. All the articles on UCG were of great interest and informational. The more I know about UCG, Global, and Philadelphia, etc. the more I realize that apart from Godís Holy Spirit leading us to all truth, there is no real alternative to Worldwideís offshoots other then being an independent believer in Christ, studying His word daily and fellowshipping with His body (the followers of Christ) in a non-hierarchical congregation, fellowship or group.

For me personally—I would rather "be taught" by a sincere Christian who treats me as an equal and does not "lord it over me" than to be "taught" by a "minister" who treats me as someone lesser or in a lower spiritual position than he. We are all many but one in Christ. We are all equal in His sight. We are to treat each other as brothers and sisters in Christ through love. When a brother or sister tries to dominate, dictate, subjugate, control and rule over another brother or sister because of his or her Ďbeliefí that God has given them that authority and uses that "authority" for unbiblical purposes, I ask myself, how can Godís love for one another exist? Isnít love what makes us believers in Christ? Since when is love domineering?

This "authority" has been used by Worldwide and its organized offshoot "churches" to stifle the growth of the followers of Christ and to omit their access to having a personal relationship directly with Our Father and our High Priest.

They have tried to achieve this through disfellowshipment, misapplying scriptures, brainwashing, coercion, favoritism, guilt, condemnation, lies, twisting of facts in Godís word and deception. I say tried because all that God has called and chosen will not be defeated nor kept from Godís glorious purpose of fulfilling our greatest potential as Godís people. Satan canít defeat us! Demons canít defeat us! Nor can this world. Neither can these "ministers". Although it may appear like it for awhile.

We will all have to give account for our actions toward others especially our actions toward those of the household of God and those who have accepted the role of a "minister" will be judged accordingly. They will have to answer not only for what they "told us what and how to be" but for how they were. Christ knew very well what He meant when He said "Do what they say, not what they do—hypocrites!!

For those who donít know it yet—God is in charge! And no minister who "thinksí he is in charge over the brethren can ever take Godís place.

Since God is in charge I will follow Him and not a "minister" or a "true church" or "church of God" or an "offshoot", for God is one and only in Him do I owe my allegiance!

Sincerely,

—Angel Gonzalez, New Jersey

Response: We cannot refute your reasoning or conclusion. Even though the Worldwide Church of God managed to produce a high degree of apparent unity, it should be obvious that there was no real unity. When the organization began to change its doctrines, the members reacted in dozens of different ways: some accepted the changes instantly, some accepted them slowly, some left for one of many other groups, some went to a Protestant church and others gave up all together. No one can claim that these people were acting with "one mind." People who long for the "good old days" in WCG are longing for a system that did not work.

However, we must be careful not to reject or revile people who are still attending hierarchical organizations. In many cases, that is the only place they can fellowship with others of like mind. Also, we must realize that if it took us 10, 20 or 30 years to understand what the Bible says about hierarchical government, it may take someone else that long to understand, also.

—NSE

Giving a Day of Atonement Offering

Letter: December 10, 1997

Sir,

How does one justify the taking up of an offering on the Day of Atonement? A) Take Deut 16:16 out of the Bible; B) God will change if those in authority twist scripture; C) Money replaced the offering made by fire; D) God has never disqualified anyone for refusing new truth; E) One may say, "follow me as I follow Herbert W. Armstrong"; F) All of the above.

—[anonymous]

Response: The traditional way to justify an offering on the Day of Atonement is to translate Deuteronomy 16:16 as "Three seasons a year all your males shall appear...." and then say that an offering should be taken up on every holy day because this verse is referring to the Spring, Summer, and Fall holy day seasons. That explanation is quite bad in that the Hebrew pah-am means "different occurances" not "seasons" and further more the three Festivals are named in the latter half of the verse.

Unfortunately, there were (and still are) people like me who sat for years and assumed that the headquarters ministers must have known what the Hebrew language really said here, so I happily gave offerings on the Day of Atonement for many years without ever questioning it. Examples like this show the problems with hierarchical government. What would happen if an usher in a hierarchical congregation told his minister that he could not in good conscience help take up a Day of Atonement offering because of this scripture? A few ministers might just quietly excuse him from the duty. But most would probably permanently remove the man from usher duty and some might disfellowship him. He would certainly be disfellowshipped if he was openly sharing his understanding of this scripture with others.

—NSE

Desires Bible Topics Not Bashing

Letter: December 5, 1997

Dear Sir or Madam,

This is with regard to the letter in the November 1997 issue entitled, "Finished Listening to UCG Troubles" from M & LR, Wisconsin. In your response to the letter, you stated, "Öevery time we decided to print articles about what is happening in specific organizations, we wish we could be teaching a Bible topic instead." I think you need to pay more attention to that need.

In examining the November 1997 issue of Servantsí News, I feel that 4 of the 8 sections either bash a large, corporate organization (UCG lately) or indicate that home fellowships are better (which is an indirect slap to corporate organizations). Actually, if you include the "Letters and Responses" in that count, 5 of the 8 sections are directly or indirectly bashing large corporate groups. So that means that at least half of the issue is devoted to a Non-salvation issues!

Although I attend UCG and am a member of UCG, I agree with your feelings that there are members of Godís church in many organizations, and members of Godís church in home fellowships. If I lived 200 miles from the nearest UCG congregation, and there was a Global (or CGI or COG 7th day or home group) less than 50 miles away, I would have no problem attending with a non-UCG group. That is, assuming the group would allow me to attend (and still be a member of UCG). I donít have a problem with attending a feast site not sponsored by UCG.

[Long paragraph about Feast sermons deleted.]

I think you are doing a disservice by having so much of your publication doing your version of "the work"—bashing UCG, or other large groups. The large majority of the people in Global, UCG, CGI, Philadelphia, home fellowships, etc. left WCG. If these people found the courage to leave WCG because of the heresy being taught, then they can choose to leave their current fellowship if they have a problem with local governance and/or headquarter governance. But these are not salvation issues and donít deserve press coverage, whereas leaving WCG involved salvation issues and peopleís eyes needed to be opened to the insidious plot to remove the truth from our lives.

—HC, Texas

Response: Thank you for your letter. We do not completely understand how you separate issues into salvation and non-salvation issues. The letters in Revelation 2 & 3 and many other scriptures indicate to us that different things are required of different people. We are to give ourselves as a living sacrifice (Rom 12:1). Paul indicates that he had to preach the Gospel to be saved (1 Cor 9:19). Christ told one man to "sell all he had" to obtain eternal life (Matt 19:16-21). We have never been able to find a simple one, two, three formula that would guarantee salvation in the Bible. We believe that there are many persons who attend big Church organizations who will be saved. But I also believe that some brethren are not able to live up to what the Eternal would like them to do because they are in a hierarchical organization.

I do not know what the Eternalís will is for you or for anyone else. However, there are hundreds of people who have left hierarchical organizations partly because of what was written in Servantsí News and they believe it was a turning point in their spiritual life.

We write about what we consider problems in church organizations for at least two reasons. First of all, when we publish a story about some wrong that was done in a church organization (e.g. money is wasted or a member is disciplined for an unscriptural reason), that organization will often correct the wrong or cease doing it in the future. I have seen this happen many times. I saw it from the inside when I worked for the Global Church of God and I have seen it happen when we published stories in Servantsí News. An organization may not worry about a secret mistake, but they will correct a public one.

Another reason we write about difficulties is so brethren can see them and learn from them. You mentioned that you have no problem going to another groupís Feast site. You may be interested to know that other brethren in the UCG have been removed from all positions of service because they have done the same thing.

We try to avoid condemning individuals, but report accurate facts and give a Biblical analysis. The dozen or so UCG congregations that have split up during the past year is a fact. Our analysis of the situation may be wrong, but we believe it is still worth most UCG memberís time to know what is happening and form their own conclusions about the cause.

We hope this helps you understand why we write these things. In the next few issues, we will probably spend much less time on church issues. We hope that there is much you can use in them.

The Real Temple of God

Letter: December 31, 1997

Dear Mr. Edwards,

My husband and I are real pleased with the work that you are doing. We look forward to getting the Servantsí News each month. Keep up the good works.

[paragraph about article removed]

It seems to me that Satan is using things of this world as decoys to get his way with us. We are so busy looking at organizations, buildings, our own brethren, that we are forgetting how we are going to be judged. We are going to be judged on our own works, not as an organization or on what our brother does.

I an finding out that the only temple I have to worry about keeping clean is the one God has given to me. Now I donít know about you, but that has been taking up all my time. When I am looking at someone elseís temple or things outside of myself, I am neglecting the job that God has entrusted me to take care of. Polishing, dusting, washing the temple he made for me. He has even supplied the cleaning supplies.

If I see someone who is spiritually in trouble, I can go right to the High Priest who is Christ which lives inside my temple and ask Him to help them. God is the only one who can change things outside of myself.

I also believe that if my temple is clean and holy unto God, He will accept my prayers and answer them, if He feels they are fit to answer. He accepts my offerings like Abel whose works were righteous, unlike Cainís whose works were evil.

I hope that I donít offend anyone with this message. I am just really worried about my family in Christ. We must trust God to do His job and us focus on ours. Only then can we have peace among ourselves. Idolatry comes in many forms and if we are obsessed with others or things outside of ourselves we might be in great danger of losing our own salvation.

We must learn to focus on our armor we are wearing because if one piece is missing we will be vulnerable to Satan who is making war with the saints of God. We must fight with all our might for faith and righteousness so we can live, because God said he is coming and he will crowns to give to those who have overcome. So polish your temples brethren, make sure you get them clean, because we are to be as virgins dressed in white so we can gleam.

—MK, Arkansas

Response: Your letter is an obvious reference to the Apostle Paul calling our bodies a temple (1Cor 3:16-17; 1Cor 6:19; 2Cor 6:16; Eph 2:21). Thank you for your encouraging words.

We have had questions about how can believerís bodies be "the Temple" and at the same time how can prophecies indicate that there will be a physical temple both during the end-time and in the Millennium? I believe that both can exist at once. There are many Jews and others that still see a temple as a vital part of their religion that is promised in scripture. The Eternal is quite capable of working with these people according to the Scripture that they understand, and working with us according to the scripture that we understand. If the Eternal can keep track of a temple for every believer, He certainly can add one physical temple, too.

—NSE

Sacred Name, Pro & Con

Letter: September 21, 1997

Greetings Norman:

Thank you for your response, my wife (Phyllis) spoke to [a friend] at a shower, and she mentioned that they had quit attending WCG, she asked what we did, Phyllis said we donít go anywhere. Phyllis mentioned to her about Servantsí News, and she was interested in getting it,hence the request.

Say Norm, I read a file back when I was on CompuServe, and the guy said that the false prophets were like mailmen, they have some truth (first class mail), and a lot of junk mail with it.

I donít think this "names" subject [use of Sacred Names] would even be an issue, if the names had never been translated. This is the reason for the problem. One doesnít translate his name when traveling in different countries, it stays the same. Did you know that "Satanís" name isnít translated, its still the same as always.

Read Acts 4:12, and then Acts 26:14 "...I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew language"...

Verse 15, "...Who are you Master?í And the Master said," I am Jesus (????) whom you are persecuting,"

Norm, I have read somewhere that the name "jesus" was concocted about 1500 years ago.

1 John 5: I write this to you who believe on the name (YAOHUSHUA in Hebrew) of the Son of g-d, (UL),..."

Norm, It appears from these scriptures that the name is more important that what the false prophets would have us believe. I can recall when H. W. Armstrong pooh-poohed the sacred / Hebrew names.

Norm, did you notice how I typed "h.w.a."? The YAOHUSHUA people from Israel have a file (False.txt) on false prophets, they "warn" you about people who have these letters "str" in their name. And they probably never even heard of H.W.A.

Norm, take a look at Mat.8:29-32 [In regard to a previous letter which indicated "jesus" means "the (je) swine (sus)".] Its very interesting what animals the demons selected to enter. Then it shouldnít be surprising that the false messiah is called "je / sus", and donít the vast majority subscribe to this messiah?

Doesnít our savior warn us about this very thing? (See Mat.7:13- 14.) The "narrow way people are few in number." The "broadway people (je / sus people) are "many".

[The fact that almost nobody believes that jesus means "the swine"] is the clever deception part of the whole thing Norm, by keeping people in the "dark", (John 8:12, and 12:35) not knowing what they are doing.

Say Norm, Iíll have to do some looking, but Iíll try to find the download [that is the proof of this]. I looked for the file, but I couldnít find it. If I find it Iíll E-mail it.

Norm, read John 6:29b, "...This is the work of g-d (YAOHU UL) that you believe on Him whom He has sent."

Norm, whom did the father send, YAOHUSHUA or je /sus ??? Is it the few (Rom.11:4-5), or the many that believe on je / sus???

It seems that some of these "YAWEHISTS" get carried away donít they? I must say you had a very good response to Elias R,A. (Name Wrong, You Worship Satan) page 26, Aug. S.N.

I believe in the name YAOHU UL, the Father (SR.) and YAOHU / SHUA, the son (JR.). "I have come in my Fatherís name / YAOHU" (John 5:43). YAHWEH (SR) / YESHUA (JR) ???

Israel was to have His name, and the Jews are the only Hebrew speaking tribe today. The Prime Minister of Israel is Benjamin Netan / YA(O) HU, there are other Hebrew names that have a "YAHU" ending as well.

Norm, check Strongs' on "lord" it also means "Baal". Isnít it suspect, the words that are used in the translation of YAOHUíS name? And "satanís " name stayed the same?

—MV, Minnesota

Response: Again, thank you for responding to my e-mail. I read the whole thing including the scriptures, but you did not convince me of anything. Too much sacred name literature is full of statements like you made: "I have read somewhere that the name ĎJesusí was concocted about 1500 years ago."

Another "sacred name" individual once strongly urged me to be rebaptized in the name of "Yashua" so I could be saved. He insisted that the entire New Testament was originally written in Hebrew. When I asked him for proof, he seemed to have forgotten where it was. Later, he referred me to a booklet by another organization that only proved that there was some chance that Matthew, Hebrews and Revelation were once written in Hebrew (which I think is quite possible). It seems extremely unlikely that Paul wrote to Gentiles in Hebrew.

Although there is less variation than the divine names, "Satanís" name has not been as well preserved in the scriptures as you imply. The Hebrew is pronounced Say-taan´ whereas in English it is Say´-tan. Also, the Hebrew form is sometimes Ha´- Say-taan´ (the adversary), but that version of his name does not appear in any English translation I know of. In the New Testament, we see the Greek Satanas—a definite variation. There are some places where Bible translations differ—some say "Satan", and others say "adversary" (Pslm 109:6, etc.). Finally, Youngís Literal Translation always uses "adversary"—"Satan" does not appear at all in that Bible version!

None of the scriptures you gave say anything about getting the pronunciation of the Eternalís name exactly right. The original manuscripts of the Bible that the Eternal has preserved for us are in three languages: Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic. Daniel uses Aramaic words for the Eternal. You showed that the Eternal spoke to Paul in Hebrew—and rightly so because Paul understood Hebrew. But this fact preserved in Acts also shows that it must have been common for people to speak other languages—if they spoke Hebrew all of the time, what point would their be in noting the language in which Paul heard? If it is vital to have correct Hebrew pronunciation of divine names, why was this never mentioned as an important item to the new Gentile believers who obviously did not speak Hebrew?

Three times the NT records the word "father" in both Hebrew and Greek (Mark 14:36, Rom 8:15, Gal 4:6). This clearly shows that there was no mass conspiracy to eliminate all Hebrew from the NT. Yet, we see no instance where the Father or Sonís name was recorded in both Hebrew and Greek. Furthermore, NT quotes of the OT are obviously from both the Hebrew texts and from the Septuagint. Again, no conspiracy to eliminate Hebrew influence, but proof that the Greek scriptures were in use. Yes, a few versions of the Septuagint have Hebrew names, but the vast majority do not.

Too often, we have found that sacred-name advocates are more interested in creating a distinctive doctrine that they can tell others to "accept in order to be saved." There are many aspects of the divine names that need to be taught to a much wider audience, but it must be done in a thorough, well documented way, rather than a "say it my way or suffer hell fire" approach.

On following the "Narrow Way":

These are favorite scriptures of many groups. The problem is, there are hundreds of "narrow ways"—Dozens of ways to pronounce the Names, dozens of calenders, dozens of Passover explanations, etc. Are they all correct because only a few people believe them? No. The scripture tells us the the right way will be narrow, but it does not tell us which of the many narrow ways will be right. It does assure us that the broadest way will be wrong, but it does not tell us exactly how it will be wrong. Yes, millions of people profess the name of Jesus, but their problem is not one of pronunciation. There problem is described here:

"Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying: 8 ĎThese people draw near to Me with their mouth, And honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. 9 And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of mení " (Matt 15:7-9).

The Eternal is not rejecting their worship of Him, but is rejecting their hearts (attitudes) and their doctrines (Christmas, Easter, heaven, hell, abortion, fornication, etc.) I believe we need to start teaching people what the Bible says and to obey it, not to begin teaching them a specific pronunciation—something that we have no command to do.

If you believe that using your pronunciation is essential for your salvation, than you should certainly do it. If you ignore what you believe to be truth, you may well be held accountable (Rom 14:23). If He asks me in a time of judgment why I did not spell or pronounce His name correctly in Hebrew, I will tell Him about the many papers I read attempting to determine its pronunciation (including yours)—I will also ask Him why He hid this vital fact from nearly all of the world. (Letís face it, the average believer throughout history did not own a Bible and was lucky to be able to read one once in a while. It was not until this century that the average believer could have access to Hebrew and Greek at all.)

If there were one scripture in the Bible that said "you shall teach them the pronunciation of My name" or "your pronunciation has separated Me from you," then I would agree with you. But the verses in Hosea, below, indicate that the Eternal responds to these names of Baal, even though He plans to straighten it out in the future:

"And it shall be, in that day," Says the Lord, "That you will call Me ĎMy Husband,í And no longer call Me ĎMy Master,í [Hebrew Baali] For I will take from her mouth the names of the Baals, And they shall be remembered by their name no more. In that day I will make a covenant for them With the beasts of the field, With the birds of the air, And with the creeping things of the ground. Bow and sword of battle I will shatter from the earth, To make them lie down safely (Hos 2:16-18).

Notice that He does not say: "you will stop worshiping Baal", but that people will "no longer call Me ĎMy Masterí [Baali]." Is this our commission now? Apparently not—there are still dangers from wild animals and wars. This prophecy is yet for the future.

—NSE

Apology For Stolen Truth Letter

Letter: November 22, 1997

Hello again, Norman Edwards:

Let me begin by saying that I owe William Dankenbring a "Public Apology" for my accusations of him "stealing" my ideas and reasons for the writing of his article entitled, "The Last Week of Jesus Christ"! [See Servantsí News July 1997 page 19 & Sept/Oct page 39.] I should have used the word "borrowed" instead, and my intentions were not to accuse him of "stealing" from me, but simply to let your readership know that "he alone", did not come up with this "new found" knowledge of his, and that there were "others" out here, (including me) who "were not" given any credit or public praise from him, and that he was "ignoring" the rest of us, concerning his "new found" knowledge.

I do not have a chip on my shoulder, nor do I feel unappreciated, nor do I feel angry when I write, nor do I have a vendetta against the WCG or it off-shoots, etc. I am simply trying to get the Ďtruth" out! My "coup de grace" for my article was found in Luke 22:66 and Matt 27:1-2 and Mark 15:1, which proves that it was daytime or morning time before our savior was even brought out to begin his very first trial with the whole Sanhedrin assembly! Those three scriptures alone destroy the common held beliefs that Christ was tried at night-time, and that he had an illegal trial in the middle of the night., etc.

[Several paragraphs removed that support the conclusion that Christís trial must have been more than 24 hours before his death.]

If any of your readers would like a copy of my letter (or article), please write to me and I will send you one. I am not trying to get a following, and I donít want your money, and I am not on an ego trip, and I am no scholar, and I donít belong to any organized religion, etc. My purpose is simply to get everyone to do "more studies" on their own, and to "prove all things", and to get everyone involved in putting this puzzle togetherÖ.Let your readers decide whether something is true or false, and give them both sides of an issue, rather then just your side!

William Dankenbring is an excellent writer, and I have learned much from him through the years, and I still have great respect for the man, and still consider him as, "my friend from California"! We all disagree with one another at times, but that does not mean that we all have to stop being friends with one another! Are we not all brothers? Do brothers always agree with one another?

Sincerely with love,

—Glen W. Myers, 1047 Iroquois St.

Clearwater, Fl 33755

Response: Thank you for the apology. It is a nice thing to see people realize they were wrong and change. Anyone interested in writing you for your paper is certainly welcome to do so—we have included your address. However, because of the difficulties we find with this theory in light of other scriptures (see our Sept/Oct 1997 issue), we do not intend to publish any more about it for a long time.

—NSE


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