Servants' News

May/June 1999

Church of God Groups:
How Do We Appear to Others?

This letter and cartoon were submitted separately, but they fit together. The letter is by Charles and Jenny Miller; the Cartoon by Dean Neal.

cartoon

July 6, 1999

Dear Brethren in Christ,

By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another (John 13:35).

Are we disciples of Christ?

If that is how we know that we are Disciples of Christ, then we had better learn how to love one another!

It is time we stop warring among us, and fight the higher powers that the Bible says are our enemies!

We need to learn how to work together, for Christ!

If a man is teaching and doing the truth of God, does it matter, which one we follow? Why fight over which one we follow, or where we attend our holy convocation? Only when the man stops doing this, does it matter! After all, only Christ can get us into The Kingdom of God! As the man follows Christ, follow him!

At least the churches that don’t keep the commandments and Feast days disagree over doctrine! We that do keep them have the same teachings and doctrines, but have hate and disagreement over the man or organization that someone will or will not follow.

Are we not all of Christ, trying to do his will and teach God and Christ’s gospel?

Do you really believe that man gave the gospel or it came only to him and his organization? What did Paul have to say about this?

What? Came the word of God out from you? Or came it unto you only? If any man think himself to a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord. But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant (1Cor 36-38).

It is time to wake up and smell the coffee. The time is nearer than we think. Why did Christ say:

By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another (John 13:35).

Because, in the Kingdom there is no room for hate, one man trying to be greater or better or listen better than you do. There is no room for strife, arguing, or any jealousy.

This is our testing ground. Judgment begins at the Church.

If Christ came today, how many of us would be kept out because we have one of the sins above? Yes, it is sin! Breaking the Commandments 6 through 10, and the second greatest commandment: "and the second is like unto it, thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself" (Matt 22:39).

When we only love those in our own group or organization or Church are we any different than the people of the world?

We are to be the light to the world, the example! What kind of example are we, when we don’t work together and love one another because of man or organization?

Are we, that teach, in need of being taught?

I say that anyone can follow any man or organization that is following Christ and he is our Brother. We had better love and work together with him, not try to destroy or put him down.

Do you really think Christ is happy over our constantly trying to prove that unless you are following our man/organization, you are not worth our time or our knowledge, you can’t use our material or truth unless you are in our group!

Instead of trying to prove we are the only one whom the Gospel was given to, we had better put the part we do have with the parts that the others have, and try to put the entire gospel we have out to the entire world!

This is no game, or no money making venture we are on. So let’s quit playing Church. Let’s quit worrying about who has the biggest church. Let’s quit worrying that we are not getting tithe money, because another man or organization has members that could be ours. We have no members; we are all members of Christ’s body, Christ and God’s Church. We all have a work.

Christ showed us by example that one man was not to do all the work. Christ was the only one who could have. Did He? No! He said the harvest is great:

But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. Then saith he unto his disciples, the harvest truly is plenteous, but the laborers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth laborers into his harvest (Matt 9:36-38).

After these things the Lord appointed the seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come. Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth laborers into his harvest (Luke 10:1-2).

He sent out 70 people—35 groups— all teaching the truth. That is the way it works: groups, not one man or one group, teaching the truth. Paul says in Romans 10:

How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! (Rom 10:14-15.)

So we need all the preachers and teachers we can get to get the gospel out to the people!

You may say, "This is all well and good, but put up or shut up." I will put up. Send me your material that teaches the truth about God and Christ, and I will put it in our building for any and all people to get and read. This will be a start!

Are you willing to do this to get the truth out? Are you willing to let others put the truth on your table or are you afraid of losing your following so you will not? If they want to put the truth on your table, then you don’t have to worry about false teachings. If you are not just worried about losing members and tithes, why won’t you let them?

If you are teaching the truth, you won’t lose members or tithes but your members will get a chance to learn more truth. Be the first to take a step for God and Christ. Send your material to:

The Inter-Dependent Church of God Sabbath Day

18482 Quicktown Rd.

Laurel Hill, NC 28351

Tel: 910-582-2143 Fax: 910-582-2165

www.peedeeworld.net/users/moses

Your Fellow Laborers in Christ Jesus,

—Charles and Jenny Miller

Comment from Norman Edwards:

Your sentiments have been expressed many times by others, but it is wonderful to see yet another witness like this sent to the leadership of the many Sabbatarian church organizations. While we do not have much hope that they will all completely change upon receiving it, some minor changes may occur. Because of the continual efforts like yours, many church organizations have dealt more fairly with their members who visit other church groups.

Hopefully, even one of the leaders of these organizations will see and say: "I am just one head of a many-headed confused creature. If I would stop proclaiming myself ‘a head’, and just serve and teach people, then the Eternal could really use my ministry".

When new people come to such a group, they would not be confronted with the many headed monster, but greeted with love and respect and encouraged to learn from whichever group they can.

However, making this change is not a wonderful, immediate cure-all, but the start on the long road to true service. Once a group no longer claims that they are the "main Work" that Christ is using, they must justify their existence by their teaching and service. Members will stay with an organization simply because they believe its "head" is "the man that Christ is using". But once an organization gives that up, brethren stay for different reasons:

1. Because the brethren exhibit true, Godly love.

2. Because the leadership is just and fair in their treatment of others—not making decisions for their own political expediency.

3. Because they are "fed" from the Bible and their doctrinal questions are heard and answered if possible (or not answered if the leaders do not know).

4. Because each member has an opportunity to serve as their gifts allow.

Most leaders of organizations do not have much experience working in this environment. Yet the Bible makes clear that leaders will be judged by what they accomplish, not by what they command others to accomplish (1Cor 3:10-15, 2Cor 1:24). For the sake of each of these leaders, it would be much better that they begin struggling down this road, than to continue to be part of the many-headed creature.

Doctrinal Surprise

I disagreed with this letter when it said: "We that do keep them [Sabbaths and Feasts] have the same teachings and Doctrines." Anyone receiving literature from several Sabbatarian groups will soon discover that the groups differ on more items than "who is the head?" There are many different views on:

1) how to preach the Gospel

2) the understanding of prophecy

3) the nature of God

4) the name of God

5) the calendar we should use

6) tithing

7) the format for Sabbath services

When church organizations give up the idea of a "human head", they also must give up the idea that they have the correct Bible answer for everything. If Paul, being trained directly by Christ, says, "For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known" (1Cor 13:12), cannot we also agree that we see some things dimly? We can learn profound truth and live our life according to the Bible without knowning (for example) the exact year Christ died.

From the "most eminent apostles" of Paul’s day (2Cor 11:5), to Herbert Arm strong, to modern day church leaders, we have suffered from church leaders claiming authority that God had not given them. Let us all strive to have love and be "doers of the word"! —NSE


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