Servants' News

July/August 1999

Letters and 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.

Appreciates SN

Letter: October 22, 1998

Mr. Edwards,

I am enclosing a small donation in thanks for your sending us the Servants’ News so faithfully. In these scattered times, it is most difficult to follow God’s flock.

Thanks once again for your wonderful concern for God’s people and your knowledge God has blessed you with.

— KD, Texas 

Response: Thank you for your kind words. We receive quite a few letters similar to this that are very encouraging to us, but we do not print most of them as the many similar letters would be of little value to our readers. Nevertheless, we are printing this one so our readers realize that we receive short and complimentary letters as well as long and sometimes critical ones.

— NSE

Amazed at So Many Truth Teachers

Letter: May 24, 1999

Dear Mr. Edwards,

The reason I write this letter to you is that we, my wife and I, were very much surprised by the article on the front page of The Journal of April 30, 1999.

We have a subscription on this magazine for more than three years. Most probably they send it to us by boat mail, for we receive it usually a month or so after it has been published. This time, we received it rather early. It really is amazing to read that so many organizations teach WCG-like doctrines.

This year, we hope to celebrate our 27th Feast of Tabernacles. But we do not know yet where. Now since we have read the above-mentioned articles, we think that there will be much more possibilities for us to go for the Feast than we knew up till now. So consequently we would be very pleased to receive from you the Servants’ News, with all the possible Feast sites.

— F & A Steinfort, The Netherlands 

Response: Many people, including myself, were amazed to find so many other similar groups. Nearly all historians (including Sabbatarian historians) who try to trace the “true church” through the ages agree that there was not consistency of doctrine—doctrine varied through the years. If the Eternal allowed doctrine to vary through the ages, what would stop Him from letting doctrine vary among different groups right now? This was obviously the case in the first century when Revelation 2 and 3 were written.

If there is any lesson that we can learn from this, it is that we ought to be doing the works of Christ—serving others and preaching the Gospel, rather than wasting time declaring our own group to be the “one True Church”, “most true Church”, “Philadelphian Church”, etc.

— NSE

Working Together in the Philippines

Letter: August 1, 1999

Mr Edwards:

Sorry for responding this very late. Actually I really want to give you some feedback but encountered some technical problem with my computer. It took me months before it was repaired and it’s only now that I am able to use it again (at last!).

Actually I was able to get the number of Mr Cesar Lumbuan thru a friend and was able to talk to him and have it requested. I have known Cesar way back during the “Global” days (and actually had a chance of working with him during feast activities!). I am quite surprised that he is also one of your subscribers and now your representative!

He informed me however that he is yet to received all his copies and I requested instead “Triumph and Trouble of the Churches of God” by Alan Ruth.

Luckily, I was able to get all the title thru Mr Ike Gabuyo. He lent me his copies and I was able to have it photocopied.

My wife and I are now regularly attending the fellowship in Shalom and they seem doing very well especially with Y2K information dissemination.

In the afternoon of Sabbath, we also met with the fellowship in Mandaluyong with Mr Ike Gabuyo (Laguna) for Bible studies and also conduct Bible seminar with new brethren. We are also planning with Ike to established a local church of God library and is now soliciting old churches of God publications. That’s why I am also coordinating with Cesar if we can borrow all sets of your publications and have it duplicated for the library.

Regards,

— Raul Hipe, Manila, Philippines

Response: I believe Cesar Lumbuan now has his complete set of literature. It is nice to see so many of you working together. It has been our experience that areas outside the United States have been quicker to see the problems with splitting up into so many Sabbatarian groups. In areas where there are fewer Sabbatarians and where transportation is more difficult, people quickly realize that if each person joins the splinter group that they think is best, they may each end up in a different group! Fortunately, many have had the wisdom to do what you do and meet together using literature from many groups.

Fortunately, church group “headquarters” in the United States are fairly tolerant of different groups meeting together internationally—they will still send them literature and not disfellowship them for attending together. I think most groups understand the problem. Also, the groups receive very little money from most international areas, so they will not feel an economic impact if some of their international subscribers switch to another group. Furthermore, some organizations count entire local international congregations as their own, even though many there consider themselves members of other groups—this makes it look like the organization has a “big international work”. I hope these statements are not offensive, but I have seen these things happen in my years of working for corporate churches. For whatever the reason, we can rejoice in the fact that most international brethren are free to meet with and work together with brethren not in their group.

— NSE

SN & SW in the Philippines

Letter: August 12, 1999

Dear Norman,

We really appreciates your Servants’ News and Shelter in the Word. Most of the articles are very timely with our situations today. It’s good to know people like you are trying to bind churches of God all over the world. I’m sure someday most if not all will be awaken to what you are doing. Cesar Lumbuan is doing a very good job. And for that reason someone was attracted to our group (a longtime WCG member) and begin attending with us. He found your articles very fair and balanced.

Today we are preparing for the feast of Tabernacles. We do our practices at Cardona’s family, providing us food to eat.

Thank you,

— Maraming Salamat, Philippines

Response: Thank you for the encouragement. I have no idea how long our ministry will continue or who will awaken to it. Most of the history of the world shows that God has not given all people the same amount of understanding of truth. The Eternal may make a way for us to share our understanding with a great many other people, or He may decide that the time is not now. He may decide to use someone else with more understanding to be a great teacher.

We need to thank the Eternal for what He has given us, and walk through whichever doors He opens for us. I hope you have a wonderful Feast.

— NSE

Cancel Servants’ News

Letter: June 30, 1999

Dear Mr. Edwards,

It is with regret that I ask you to cancel my subscription to the Servants’ News. Whereas, I formerly enjoyed the SN, lately I have noticed that the content of it has deteriorated into that of a gossip paper. One or another of the churches of God is always being trashed, or some person such as Mr. Herbert Armstrong, who is dead and has no recourse with which to defend himself. Global has not escaped criticism, nor has UCGAIA, Mr. Meredith, COGAIC, Mr. Hulme, etc. I feel that trashing Churches or the ministry is of little value. Gossip about the various Churches of God isn’t witnessing to the world a warning nor is it “feeding God’s sheep”. I feel depressed after reading such negative things. I feel that printing positive things about the churches would be of more value and much more encouraging and uplifting.

You did have a good thing going at one time. I pray that Servants’ News will change its script and be more positive and uplifting in the future. However, I do like “Shelter in the Word”. Please don’t let it become a gossip rag like Servants’ News has. I assume that since I am canceling Servants’ News, the “Shelter in the Word” will stop coming also.

— Deloris Hoffman, Iowa

Response: No! We will be glad to send only Shelter in the Word. It does not contain anything specifically about “Church of God” groups. We have received several phone calls, letters and e-mails that are similar to your letter. Some have requested to receive only Shelter in the Word and we will gladly comply.

We realize that writing or reading about the problems of teachers and groups is not pleasant. It is depressing to us, as well as to you. It would be easier if we wrote about only positive things. However, we do not believe we are a “gossip rag”—we believe everything we have printed to be true and clearly established by documentation or at least two witnesses. If there is a specific point that you do not think we have sufficiently proven, let us know and we will better document it. (If we tried to publish all relevant documentation of every point, that would only make these depressing articles many times longer.)

So why don’t we just ignore the problems and only talk about positive things? Our reading of the Bible shows us that the Eternal spends a lot of time explaining the faults of various individuals and groups of people—from the sin of Adam and Eve (Gen 3) to the problems with the seven churches (Rev 2-3). The Bible gives an evaluation of every King of Israel. The gospels talk about the sins and mistakes of the apostles. Paul and John name brethren who became false teachers and brethren who left the faith.

We have written about the problems of “Church of God” groups and leaders not because we want to see them fail, but because we believe many are on a path toward failure and we want to see them succeed. We realize that reading both good and bad news about God’s people is not something we are used to. The WCG printed basically only good news about themselves in their own publications and members were highly discouraged from reading other publications. It was easy to believe that everything was going great. Now and then a person, minister or entire congregation would simply “disappear without a trace”, but since almost nobody talked about these things, they were easy to forget.

But ignoring problems rarely makes them go away. Exposing them sometimes does help them go away. Several times, church groups have reversed an unfair policy or decision when a story was written about it in the Journal, Servants’ News, or some other publication. In addition, church groups that used to largely ignore certain doctrinal questions have addressed them when other publications wrote about them.

The history of mankind, either from the Bible or secular sources, is not a long, pretty story. It is the story of many people trying to get what they can for themselves, and a few trying to help others live together in peace (Matt 5:9). The help of the latter is not always appreciated.

Even though we believe it is necessary to write about some “Church of God” problems to help those involved in them, we realize that some are not involved in them, or if they are, can do very little about them. We encourage people in those situations to skip the articles that do not interest them.

Thank you for your letter.

— NSE

Guts to Write About It All

Letter: August 24, 1999

Hi Norm:

I like men who have the guts to write about the good, the bad, and the ugly. Donation enclosed.

— Rich Trecek, California

Response: Learning to deal righteously when people disagree a very difficult thing. I have not mastered it, but I think I have learned. The easiest approaches are to avoid the conflict and say nothing to the person, or to go to the person in anger and hate. Paul’s advice was good: “Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted” (Gal 6:1).

— NSE

In Different Levels of Growth

Letter: August 5, 1999

Dear Norm,

Thanks for your tireless efforts in research and writing to provide for the wake-up of ex-WCG people and others. I was in the Worldwide Church of God for 25 years. Your writings in Servants’ News have helped me a great deal in understanding how many of us made an idol of Mr. HWA. We were duped by the hierarchy system; and fleeced by it as well.

As I was leaving in 1995, I would get mad if anyone said anything negative about Mr. HWA or his lieutenants. We are not all at the same grade in growth and many of us are still in kindergarten in Christian growth… still wanting milk.

Some of the write-ins (letters) still reflect a deceived and immature attitude. People need to check into things and not be naïve as I was. There are plenty of material sources to back up what you are saying, Norm! HWA and WCG made lots of mistakes. The Bible records mistakes of others who were kings and leaders in the Old Testament for our learning.

Please keep on keeping on what you are doing Norm. We all need truth, which I believe you are publishing. This is showing the love of God to our scattered brethren. I feel the same as you do about HWA and WCG and am thankful for the truth we did learn. However, we were kept in kindergarten (pay and pray) too long. Thank God… He let it break up. Now we can move into the first grade. God bless you all.

— CD, Mississippi

Response: Thank you for the encouragement. It took me years to slowly understand the major scriptural problems with the WCG and Herbert Armstrong. I have now met many other people who understood these things years or decades before I did, as well as those who came to understand them after I did. God is still working with most of us.

— NSE

Comments on Beyersdorfer Letter

Letter: August 15, 1999

Dear Norm,

I really enjoyed your excellent responses to Karl Beyersdorfer in the latest SN. Not only was there a double-mindedness by HWA as you noted in the responses, but it is plain that such double-mindedness has rubbed off on even apparently otherwise sincere people such as Karl.

Not too surprising since this has been a deep-rooted systemic problem of the HWA legacy from at least the 1940s (an early edition of the US & Britain in Prophecy booklet). There simply is no justifiable excuse for plagiarism in the United States of America since 1790. Before God there has never been a good excuse to present another’s material as one’s own original material and inspiration. That is Plain Untruth.

The “early ministers” allowed this cancer to take root within them. This happened by their constant exposure to the increasingly domineering and overbearing “leadership” of a man who, especially after the death of his wife in 1967, just had to “be right” (we all have to fight this tendency; and we must overcome it!). Their spiritual immune systems were weakened over time by HWA’s constant pressure and their willingness to compromise with it.

Karl’s excuses for HWA, et al, in this regard are just that: excuses, unjustifiable excuses.

The “its ok if we do it” cancer can be very contagious! We must strengthen our spiritual immune systems by not compromising with sin or by allowing any unscriptural leadership to dominate us (see 2Cor 11:19-20). (My reference to 1967, above, as at least one watershed year is per the testimony of Ellis Stewart in his answer to my article on The Incredible Human Potential book by HWA in The Journal, September, 1997).

[Personal paragraphs deleted]

Some further information on plagiarism: I just viewed a few nights ago part of a PBS presentation on copyright law. The law professor made some significant statements thereunto appertaining (I’ve obviously heard/read a lot of “law-speak”!).

The professor gave the general approach of law to plagiarism: You cannot copyright an idea; you can copyright the expression of an idea.

Also, an example of a recent case of plagiarism (noted either on this presentation, or on another one recently): a well-known romance novelist was recently successfully sued (and she subsequently admitted the fact) for copying about ten words out of one paragraph from another novelist’s book and using those words in one of her paragraphs and utilizing a similar structure and overall content for her own paragraph. (We’re talking about parts of just one paragraph here!)

Herbert Armstrong did more than just copy the structure of JH Allen’s whole book. He copied concepts and even examples with the same words and sometimes very little difference in content.

So, once again, HWA would have easily been shown to be a plagiarist, a fraud, and a liar in any challenge to the copyright for his book, The US & Britain in Prophecy.

And, before God, he would be a thief and a liar for taking and passing off another’s work as his own, since he did not just use the same very general concept, but copied structure, words, and content, and did not give proper credit—and claimed inspiration from God and bragged often of God’s special election of him as an apostle and as the Elijah to come (Covetousness probably enters in all this as well). (See pages 9,10, 24,157,251,289-291 of Mystery of the Ages, PCG paperback edition).

Despite whatever good God accomplished through HWA and faithful brethren; despite whatever talents and abilities HWA did indeed possess; he was a false prophet, a fraud, and an exploiter of brethren and co-workers.

Lastly, Karl: why did you not touch upon the issue of HWA’s extravagant lifestyle of the last two to three decades of his life? Nor did you touch the subject of his extortionist co-worker letters with their often eternal life threatening messages. You did not deal with the several plain examples of his date-settings for the end-time events that clearly mark him biblically as a false prophet (Deut 22:23) and hence as one not to take too seriously for that reason alone!

— Bruce Lyon, California

Response: Your points are well made. I think Herbert Armstrong did most of the things you accuse him of, though I am not sure how aware he was of what he was doing and therefore cannot judge his heart. He did many good things along with the bad (see letter in box). The best I can tell, he was surrounded by men who nearly always agreed with him for the last 20 years of his life. Those who would challenge his actions from the scriptures rarely ever had a chance to do so. “Better a poor and wise youth than an old and foolish king who will be admonished no more” (Eccl 4:13). Mr. Armstrong did not have the “iron sharpening iron” that so many of us enjoy. Yet he continually claimed sole and complete responsibility for his organizations—and the entire Work of God on Earth for that matter. An all-wise God who can look directly on the heart will be required to judge him. Halleluia! We have one!

— NSE

Dealing with Depression, Negativism

Letter: August 12,1999

Dear Mr. Edwards,

Hello. I decided to write you a letter. This time instead of calling…Also, considering the effort of sending me some older issues (which are great).

I’m the one who called and expressed my feelings about the “negativity” surrounding Mr. Armstrong. I’d cancelled my subscription, but would like to cancel my “cancel”. I just changed my mind. (And as the saying goes, a woman has the right to do that!) I just decided that I’m in a very negative state of mind, due to my “separation”, and a major depression I’ve battled for years.

So reading about Mr. HWA fed into the depression, and I noticed an angry spirit rise from me. I thought of all the years growing up in “the Church” (and due to rebellion, out of “the Church”) and just cried—all in the name of deception. It just instilled mistrust in all human beings. It also makes me angry with someone God did use. I just feel we should “lay him down to rest” (excuse pun).

I would like very much to continue receiving Servants’ News, but I may just by-pass any negativity concerning Mr. Armstrong—or any minister for that matter. I feel we need all the positive, uplifting, and healing words to enable us to be shining lights in this dark world. It is my greatest desire. For me, negativity equates depression equates spiritual defeat.

I appreciate your note, and I just wanted to say I acted hastily! The Servants’ News outweighs the bad, because of the good… So please continue to do fine work. God bless you and your family.

— PR, North Carolina

Response: I have also struggled with depression in dealing with so many problems in the church groups. But if I am going to teach others about God, I realized that I cannot blindly give them old WCG teachings and proclaim them all “truth” because Mr. Armstrong said they were. I can teach the good things that he taught that I can prove from a Bible. I can add other things that I have learned from the Bible. I may not know as much as I used to think I knew, but what I do know I can discuss with anyone who believes the Bible

— NSE

Let Christ Judge

Letter: June 25, 1999

Dear Norman,

I agree with Richard Nickels—I know Mr. Herbert Armstrong was not perfect, but I wish you would quit beating up on him. Mr. Armstrong is the one (by the broadcast on the radio or Plain Truth) where we learned about the true Sabbath and Holy Days and true doctrines. God uses imperfect humans to call others.

True religion is between the individual and God and Christ and Holy Scriptures. Sometimes we need someone to point us in the right direction—it’s a life long process.

I’m glad my mother heard Mr. Armstrong in 1945. She was baptized in 1951 on a summer baptizing tour. Some people, especially in other countries and (even here) know about the Sabbath and Holy Days and never heard of Mr. Armstrong or Worldwide Church of God. Yet, even so, I think Mr. Armstrong made a significant contribution in the Church of God history. Let Christ and God judge what he did and did not do perfectly.

I think it is time to get on with life and keep on keeping on. Stick to the truth—to the Holy Scriptures and not let others tell us what it says, but ask God to help us to understand what He wants us to know. Keep up the excellent work.

— Judy Averill, NC

Response: The reason we bring up Herbert Armstrong is because there are so many groups that base their entire operation on his Work. The main stated reason that we have some separate church organizations is that each one claims to be following Herbert Armstrong better than the next. The Eternal will certainly judge Mr. Armstrong in righteousness—and be understanding of mistakes that he did not know he was making. But if I can reach leaders of organizations and other brethren today and show them where Mr. Armstrong departed from the Scriptures and the trouble that such departure caused, I believe I should do it.

When Mr. Armstrong was alive, I had far too much trust in his explanation of the Bible. I did not search the scriptures as I should. Therefore, I never felt compelled to go to him or his staff about a Bible issue. But today, I feel compelled to write about areas where our past practice departs from the Scripture, so that leaders and brethren who are alive now can do what they can to correct it.

—NSE

Thankful for Honest HWA Writing

Letter: August 5, 1999

Dear Norm and Servants’ News,

Thank you very much for explaining your future goals for your publications.

We are so glad for your honesty with what Herbert W. Armstrong did and did not do. We had to quit two churches of God who want to mix the “upholding of HWA” with the gospel of Christ. It just does not mix! I know you and others have to walk a fine line to reach more brethren, but we do not have to honor anyone but Christ and God in our worship. So when you choose to be honest with HWA’s historical legacy, no matter the flak you receive, we are very thankful.

— Paul and Barbara Morris, Texas

Response: Thank you for your short letter. It is nice when encouraging letters more than balance out negative and “cancel my subscription letters”.

— NSE

HWA: 19 Million Christians in 1928

Letter: June 19, 1999

Hi Norman,

Thanks for sending me down the missing page of the HWA article, it helped make sense of the remaining pages.

I noticed several articles that I would like to obtain copies of. May I order them from you directly? [literature request deleted]

Also I would be interested to learn of any information or articles on the Message of the Third angel.

I have a copy of the article in the Oct 1928 Bible Advocate in which Herbert describes what he believes are the 19 million or so Christians alive in 1928! (Go figure.) I am also intrigued that this 3rd angels message was a big issue for COG7 at that time, so when the article British Israel was read by Dugger and he commented in the oft quoted letter on the Train July 28 1929, the title of the article is “Third Angel’s Message and British Israel”, p406, soft cover Autobiography.

I ponder if the (in)famous comment “you surely are right" was more on the Third Angel’s message than on the BI issue? Don’t of course have any way of proving otherwise. However I noticed in an article by Ralph Orr in a WWN, that the manuscript copy had a number of pages (about 20?) removed and replaced with newer material and no mention the third angel’s message in the ‘modified’ version. (one of the HWA personal papers collection).

If you have any information or can suggest some other sources, I would gladly follow it up. Thanks for your time.

Regards,

— David W. Jenkins, Coolaroo, Australia 

Response: I do not have any more information about the documents that you mentioned. Richard Nickels (888-687-5191) might. I am quite aware that the Seventh Day Adventists placed great importance on the “Third Angel’s Message”, but that doctrine was very early dropped by Herbert Armstrong.

You will get our literature much faster if you write to the Australia address on Page 2 of Servants’ News. Please do that.

I find it very interesting that Herbert Armstrong estimated that there were so many Christians in 1928. He was obviously counting many groups, probably Sunday-keepers too. His writing would not have been accepted by hardly anyone if he dogmatically claimed that some tiny group of dozens or hundreds were the only Christians in the world at the time. Usually, it is not until groups grow large and powerful that they begin to claim they are the only true church.

— NSE

Facts Are Only Way to Cut Through

Letter: June 21, 1999

Hi Norm,

I am writing to request some literature. I would first like to give you some background on myself. I attend a small fellowship group in Toronto, Ontario (approx. 25-30 people). We used to be a CGI group until the split a few years back.I have been receiving Servants’ News for a few years now and am glad that this magazine is able to provide so much different information. We have a common acquaintance [name withheld]. He was attending our group and speaking on a monthly basis until recently as he has become very involved in a charismatic movement (the Vineyard Movement). I miss him and am concerned but we all have to find our way in our relationship with God so all I can do now is pray for his well being. He really helped me to break out of the bondage I held from organizations. I was never in Worldwide so I cannot say I was held in chains physically but my mind was and I consider even the CGI to be a cult, in fact any organized religion is a cult. Your magazine has also helped to give me information to deprogram the myths I held onto.Even people in my group want to be an organization for the benefit of tax receipts,order,money,etc. and do not see that you cannot serve God and mammon at the same time. When you need the government to recognize you as a church then it is just another copy of the beast system that started thousands of years ago.

I used to think that we should move on and forget all this Armstrong “bashing” as some detractors call it but I realize that information is the only way to de-mythologize something and I thank you for continuing to provide it. I am free but there are many who are not free physically, mentally, or spiritually, and that is why I am writing this request. I would like to have this information handy in case someone needs help in facing reality in the future and facts are the only way to cut through propaganda.

I would request the last few back issues you did on Herbert Armstrong as I no longer have them and I would also like the three critiques you offer in the Jan/Feb.99 issue, as well as Did Christ Reorganize the Church, and Biblical Calendar Basics. I believe God has allowed us to be scattered in His mercy to preserve His Church and help us all come into a personal relationship with Him because He does not share His glory with men, organizations or anything else.

It is all about Jesus Christ alone. Thank you, God bless, and keep up the good work.

Your brother in Christ,

— RN, Canada

Response: Thank you for your letter. I will gladly send you all of the requested literature. God certainly uses people at different ways and at different times. But I think there are many who have a very one-sided perspective of the WCG and Herbert Armstrong. The best people to reach them with the good as well as the bad are friends whom they trust.

—NSE

True Perspective Important

Letter: April 7, 1999

Dear Norm and Marleen,

I thought your December issue chronicling Herbert Armstrong’s mistakes and dubious tactics was very worthwhile reading. It certainly helps to back up and get an objective sixty-year perspective rather than a six-day perspective so often given in the co-worker letters. I think the right attitude we all need is to try to have a true perspective of what happened. It’s very difficult and sometimes means we have to admit we might have been wrong. Thank you so much for all the research you put into this series of articles. Here’s a donation to help with the costs.

— John Sash, Missouri

Response: Admitting we have been wrong is a hard thing to do. It is even harder when so much of our religious life was based on the concept that we were in the “one true church” and if we continued to be members in good standing, we would go to the “place of safety” and then the Kingdom of God. It is also difficult to look at the bad from our past when there was also so much good. To help others with this difficulty, we have included the article, But... They Helped Me, in this current issue.

— NSE

Where Do We Go From Here?

Letter: April 13, 1999

Perhaps the considerable time and dedication…obsessive?…and the diligent research which went into the project aimed at denigrating Mr. Armstrong could have been put to better use following the advice in Phil 3:13…forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before…

Where do we go from here, and how do we get there?

— Beth Linehan, WI

Response: The effort was put into the Herbert Armstrong research so that the many people trying to re-create his Work could see it for what it was, not in the rose-colored glasses they were used to viewing it. However, you are right, we must go on. Our article in the May-June issue, Where are You on the Field? covered some of this topic. Our coming article on eternal judgment will cover the big priorities of all people, especially believers. How we get where we should go is up to the Eternal, and each one of us!

— NSE

“Where Are You on the Field?”

Letter: August 7, 1999

I just finished reading Norman Edwards' article in Servants’ News, May/June issue (Where are You on the Field).I think it does an excelent job of puting us humans in perspective to God. If you think about why we are here (I think most of us would agree we are basically here to learn) why would doctrine be the most important thing in our relationships. I have been saying for some time that on a scale of 1 to 100, 100 being total understanding and Godly character that all of humanity (athiest, pagan, protestant, catholic and Sabbath keeper) fall in around 1 or 2 on that scale. So why condemn each other? Good job Norman! Humbly keep up the good work!

Response: There are times when I really need such encouragement. It is hard to spend long hours trying to dig out the truth about something only to have people say essentially: “We would rather not know the truth about that.” But we all must be patient with each other. I can remember times when I did not want to hear the truth about something.

— NSE

Many Ministries Falling Apart

Letter: June 9, 1999

Dear Norm,

Just a short letter to say thank you for continuing to use my articles in your publication, and to share with you that I am praying for you in the huge task of the work that you are involved in. May God continue to bless your efforts.

I was reading some of the letters that people send you and you can see the attacks. I can only imagine the ones you might get that try to rip your guts out. I have had experience with this in the past with some of what I have been involved with—it is not easy to get those kinds of letters. My prayers have been for you that God will give you the strength to endure through the work that you are doing. It was years before God taught me not to become offended at these kinds of attacks. And to have the workload to deal with the amount of people you are dealing with—the only way you will be able to endure all of this is by the grace of God. I have increased my prayers for you. May He continue to give you that grace to walk in His love and not become offended. This way we will stay in focus.

There has been so many ministries falling apart. You can prove from the scriptures that God says that He will take a toll on those who stand in His temple as leaders and don’t do it the right way. Scripture says that this will increase before Christ returns—by that I mean it will increase with the toll that God says he is going to take on the leadership. Ezekiel 34 is a good scripture that relates to this.

It sure seems to be taking place. Those leaders that have been exposed in the last few years—I don’t believe that it has all been accident. God is moving to take a toll on the leadership. There are many places that God will give us leeway, but standing in His Temple and bringing defilement is one area that no leeway is given. In the Old Testament, many different sins were forgiven, like the case with David with adultery and murder. But the defilement of the ministry was not forgiven. David was afraid of God when He struck Uzza dead for defiling the ministry. 2Sam 6:9. It’s a good thing for David that he never touched the Ark.

1Cor 3:16-17 is another scripture that shows his anger of the leadership defiling God’s temple. So many in the leadership take this so lightly. I have warned those who minister about these scriptural facts of defiling God’s Temple, and they take it like it’s just throwing a cigarette on the sidewalk. They do not understand the danger! If they did, they would understand why Paul said he walked in fear and trembling—1Cor 2:3.

And judgment will be stricter with those who were teachers! (James 3:1). Norm, when you put all these scriptures together, it makes me tremble. But so few who are giving sermons or writing articles seem to have this fear that God says we should have. They are so confident of their own wisdom that they often bring it into God’s temple to defile it. God cannot allow this, the toll will be taken, His Word says so. Just because they are not dropping dead they way Uzza did, when he tried to do a good work for God with the hand of the flesh—still, God will deal strictly with these matters because of the position they are placing themselves in as teachers! If they knew the danger they were in and the judgement they are going to have to face, many would drop their position immediately. But ignorance is no excuse. God says, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge”.

I know of no other scriptural warnings that are more binding to those in leadership positions right now than these.

I believe that God will continue to take his toll in these matters as He moves to refine His Church and get it ready for the wedding. I pray that those in leadership positions will give heed to these scriptural warnings. God will not play games. So many in leadership positions act as if God is not watching. May we give heed to these scriptural warnings that can save our lives. And do it the way Paul told Timothy: “Take heed to yourself and to your teachings, hold to that, for by doing so you will save both yourself and your hearers” (1Tim 4:16 , RSV).

Thanks once again for the continued work and the task you are doing in trying to serve so many of God’s people. I really look forward to reading Servants’ News each time it comes. May God continue to fill you with His Grace.

— Tommy Willis, Louisiana

Response: Thank you for the prayer and encouragement. I am not sure that I can say for certain that sins related to the priesthood bring a more powerful punishment than adultery or other such sins. Both Samuel’s sons and Eli’s sons abused their offices and did not die instantly. Whereas, four of David’s children died (Bathsheba’s first born, Amnon, Absalom and Adonijah) because of David’s sin. Nevertheless, the other scriptures you bring out about the seriousness of sins toward God’s temple (His people) are very serious. Far too many leaders believe that as long as they are “doing God’s work”, God will accept whatever they do to “protect His work”—which sometimes results in sinning against others. God is better than that. He wants His work done His way. He does not need us to sin against others in order to do His work.

— NSE

Germany in Prophecy

[This letter is in response to an article in the Philadelphia Trumpet. Since that publication rarely prints letters opposed to its views, Mr. Turner wrote his response to other Sabbatarian publications.]

Letter: October 22, 1998

Greetings,

This is in response to the article Winston S. Churchill—The Watchman by Gerald Flurry, in which he states:

“He faced reality and spoke the truth in a dangerous world... That is the mark of a great leader! They always tell the truth, no matter how hard it is to accept!...

It would behoove each one of you to drop everything and prove what I am telling you today!...

Our greatest challenge is to accept the truth. Can you? Can I?...

We didn’t denazify Germany after WW2, and they are back on the world scene. The ugly factions are about to get control again...

We must face facts and draw true conclusions from them.

Now using the above criteria and “proving what he is telling me today,” I can’t help but come to the conclusion that Gerald Flurry is neither a watchman nor does he have “the mark of a great leader” because he is not telling the truth when it comes to Germany. He is not “facing reality” nor “facing facts and drawing true conclusions from them.” Gerald Flurry is obviously trying to equate himself with Winston Churchill since he relentlessly harps on about Nazis.

The facts are that: yes, Germany didn’t denazify—but neither has the US, UK or other countries. Every country has moles and warts on the body politic. And the neo-Nazi dirtbags did worse than expected in the recent German elections (especially in Bavaria!) and are divided into competing factions.

Gerald Flurry would do well to take off his Nazi-colored glasses and reread HWA’s Dec. ‘48 PT article about the UN conference in which he pinpoints a particular party started by the Catholic church that will become the vehicle for the revival of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation. It would also be beneficial to reread the articles “Franz Josef Strauss Makes His Bid” (PT, Sept ‘79) and “Where is West Germany Headed?” (PT, Sept ‘84).

What these articles point out is in complete disagreement and in stark contrast with what Gerald Flurry says and predicts will happen in Germany. Yes, the PT also pointed to the Nazis coming back, but this showed the confusion in the WCG about which path Germany would take—which in my opinion, is from one ditch (“the evil twisted cross”) to the other (“the holy x’tian cross”), they just haven’t made it to the other... yet. But Bavaria is already there—ready to show the way!

Gerald Flurry would do well to heed his own words: “Our greatest challenge is to accept the truth. Can you? Can I?

Philia...

— Michael Turner, Texas

Response: Thanks for the letter. Most Americans know little or nothing about the governments or political parties in other countries. If such things make the major news at all, it is usually only a few seconds of some “old guys” shaking hands and a bunch of people cheering, and it is over before the average person can learn the names of the people involved and what they stand for. If someone who seems like they know what they are talking about tells an American that the Nazi party is about to take over Germany—or that the Catholics are about to take over Germany—there is a good chance that the American will believe them. We have been somewhat amazed at how many “prophecy teachers” simply claim that world events are matching their prophetic teaching—even though they are not.

We cannot judge the hearts of these teachers, but it appears that many claim to have a detailed understanding of world events in prophecy even though they have never heard directly from the Eternal nor used the Bible to predict even one single world event in advance. The purpose of their dogmatic prophetic claims seems more to hang on to followers who are uneasy about the future. People need to learn to build a confidence and trust in the Eternal to deliver them from difficulties, not to have confidence in a church organization that may well never have successfully prophesied anything.

No one has enough time or capability to read all of the important news about every important place on earth. First we should study the prophecies of scripture so we know what they say, then we should pay attention to what is going on around us so that we can possibly match it to scripture, and thirdly, we should pray and ask the Eternal to reveal the meaning of those prophecies that we need to understand now. During the past 2000 years, most people believed that they were living near the time of the end. Think about all of the wasted energy that went into analyzing end-time prophecies to make them come out to 200 A.D., 400 A.D., 700 A.D., 1000 A.D., 1500 A.D., and even 1944 A.D., 1948 A.D. and 1972 A.D. None of those end-time scenarios worked out.

This does not mean that we should not study prophecy, but it means that we should do it in proper perspective. We will be eternally judged by what we do in this life—how we honor God and how we treat others. But there is no scripture that says we will be judged according to our prophetic understanding. And it is quite possible that we may individually die before “the end” comes.

— NSE

Is Y2K a Judgment?

Letter: March 23, 1999

Dear Norman,

I always look forward to receiving the Servants’ News. Thanks so much for your “labor of love”.

Have read several articles on the Y2K. So many tell us that it will be a major disaster. One reason I believe it will be, this great nation has gotten so far from our Most High God. In one way or the other, He will punish the rebellious. So much sin abounds. Love of many has grown cold.

[Literature request omitted] May all of you be richly blessed everyday.

—MB, Georgia

Response: Y2K is certainly a judgment in that many organizations put short term profits ahead of the long-term good of everyone—and will reap the consequences not preparing their computers for Y2K earlier. However, some people who were primarily responsible for such failure to prepare have resigned from the organizations that will suffer and now work at places that are Y2K-ready. On the other hand, other people will suffer in Y2K who knew nothing about it until it was too late. This is the normal way of most sins: those who commit them often suffer because of them, but sometimes they appear to escape, and often others not involved with the sin suffer, too.

However, I believe there are many greater evils in our nation than failure to prepare for Y2K. Will God use Y2K to punish certain people for other sins? Will He use it to punish the whole nation or the World? I cannot point to a specific prophecy on this, but I believe that Y2K will get most of the world’s attention. However, I do not know whether it will be a “judgment” upon those who misuse computers to control and take unfair advantage of people (big government and business) or whether it will be a catalyst that causes big governments to enact martial law or go to war—thereby punishing mankind in general.

— NSE

Bread & Wine More Than Once

Letter: June 30, 1999

Dear Norman Edwards;

I am interested in receiving any back issues of the Servants’ News beginning with the September 1998 issue that you can send to me. I have read parts of a couple of issues at a friend's home and would like to begin receiving it at my home [address removed]. I am e-mailing you from my friend’s computer.

I also would like to know what your belief is pertaining to taking bread and wine more than once a year. Please send a response to this question to me at the home address given above. Thank you for your help in these matters. Looking forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

— Jennifer Leagan, Tennessee

Response: We always keep all back issues of Servants’ News in stock. The Jan/Feb and March/April 1997 issues contain articles giving much of my understanding about taking bread and wine more than once per year. It is good to understand the Bible and live by what it says. But the scriptures on judment all show we will be judged on how we treat our neighbors, not on how we explain complex doctrines. Do not let this be a “stumbling block” either way.

— NSE

Comments on Fringes Letter

Letter: June 20, 1999

Dear Norm,

Thanks again for the SN. As always, I devour it.

I had to respond to the letter of Kay Rea [Mar-Apr 1999, page 14] on wearing tassels and fringes (Numbers 15:38-40), and I remember bringing up this subject some time ago at the Walkerton Fellowship. Your answer to this question was adequate, however, for what it's worth, here is the answer I gave then:

The custom of wearing tassels and/or fringes was common among the pagans, and the Israelites, as always, wanted to be like their neighbors.

Now God said (paraphrased), “…okay, you can wear them, however, they were to put a blue thread in their tassel and to look at it to remind themselves that they were God’s commandment-keeping people. Moreover, they were to wear them throughout their generations (verse 38).

Obviously, the custom of wearing tassels has gone out of vogue. So, the question for Christians is, do we have to wear tassels with a blue thread, today?

Yes, we do. Jesus said so, Matt 17:18, “…not one jot or tittle shall pass from the law, until all is fulfilled [accomplished].”

Here is another example of how Christ raised the letter of the law to a higher spiritual plane. The purpose of the blue thread, again, was to remind the Israelite of the commandments. Now, notice John 14:15-17, 26, “If you love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father , and He will give you another Helper, that He ma abide with you forever…” (verse 26) “…But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.”

Today, the New Covenant Christian is reminded of the Law through the Holy Spirit. Let’s abide in that.

— Ron Fry, Indiana

Response: Thanks for your additional explanation. I think your scripture is well-used here. If some still want to wear the fringes and believe it helps them, I am not opposed to it, but I agree that an active Holy Spirit is a much more powerful reminder than a fringe.

— NSE

Different Church Background

Letter: June 2, 1999

Dear Mr. Edwards,

I read the recent edition thoroughly though I was never a member or adherent of HWA or any COG. I listened to CGI tapes for three years between 7th Day Adventist membership (8 years) and Messianic congregation (4 years) misled by a divorced plagiarist who “divorced” us when insufficient money for him persisted. It turns out our “church” was incorporated in his name alone.

Thanks for dealing with Jim Rector in your usual exhaustive fashion. I am so glad he repents. As you know, Ellen White was also a non-original rewriter, still called “The Pen of Inspiration” and the “Spirit of Prophecy” by thousands. Why cannot the exhorters among us humble the old man enough to focus on truth itself? The Jews credit the sages and rabbis interminably on all Bible commentary—a man must memorize Talmud and Mishnah material which minutely identifies each contributor, in order to lead or teach. Perhaps, legalists that they may be, they have constructed an elaborate bridge over the pitfall of pride: self-aggrandizement.

Your emphasis on getting your message yourself is much needed. There is an analogy to cooking and eating here, to be examined. Spiritual nourishment can be processed by someone else’s recipes which then must be acknowledged, or a more healthful diet of unprocessed food can be followed—raw! Most of us will need and select some of each—prepared dishes and salads convenience food or fruit eaten in hand. What do we blame for our sickness? The cook? The additives? I’m sure you can meditate on this and write it better than I.

I appreciate you as a constant source of helpful material, as a stimulus to in-depth analysis and thorough coverage.

— Margaret Beasley, Oklahoma

Response: Thank you for the explanation of the groups you were in. It is important to realize that we are not the only group with church leadership problems. On the other hand, it is important to realize that if the sins and problems of other groups look so bad to us that we want nothing to do with them, other people may look at the sins and problems in our groups and decide that they want nothing to do with us!

It is amazing. There are probably few if any “Church of God” members who are offended at me for printing your letter with the problems of the various groups you attended. I doubt any of our readers would insist that you must go back and be loyal to one of the groups that you attended. Yet some of those same people would be offended by someone printing the truth about problems in their group. Also, some would insist that brethren should stay in their group in spite of the problems. It is simply too easy to have a different standard for our own group and other groups.

— NSE

Mixing Old and New Covenants?

Letter: June 27, 1999

Dear Norman Edwards,

Please do not send me anymore of Servants’ News. I do not agree with what you are printing in your paper.

It seems like you are mixing the old covenant of the nation of Israel and the new covenant of Paul’s letters to the Gentiles. The two don’t mix.

The Gentiles according to Paul are under grace. The Jews will have their seven years what is left of the Prophecy in the tribulation.

— Ivar Redland, Minnesota

Response: This is an interesting theory, but not very Biblical. Christ’s prophecy in Matthew 24 and the Book of Revelation all overlap with the prophecies of Daniel, Ezekiel, Isaiah, etc. The two are not separate.

Furthermore, we can be certain that Paul and many other Jewish converts lived both under the New Covenant and under the Old Testament law at the same time. How? When Paul was accused by the Jewish leaders, they could not find any provable charges to bring against him (Acts 25:7). If he had been violating their law, they could have brought such charges. Paul was still allowed to participate in physical temple rituals (Acts 21:26). To do this, he must have continued to keep the Sabbath, Holy Days, purity laws, and many other laws that required a person to be “cut off” from Israel if they failed to do them. Later, Paul clearly states: “Men and brethren, though I have done nothing against our people or the customs of our fathers, yet I was delivered as a prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans...” (Acts 28:17).

Indeed, the Temple, its sacrifices and the Levitical priesthood ended in 70 A.D. when Jerusalem was destroyed. But many teachings given by the Eternal in the Old Testament continue in force. It contains extensive stories that show how the Eternal works with nations and individuals. A person can do much to love God and his neighbor as himself with only the New Testament. But using both Old and New together is so much better.

— NSE

Learn From Our Brother’s Mistakes

Letter: June 2, 1999

Dear Servants' News Staff,

I have needed to do this for quite some time, I hope the money will help. I know that many of us are very appreciative for all your efforts on the papers you produce.

There are many times I would love to write a letter to the editor and tell you that I agree with this or that. There are times too that I want to write because someone has written in to you to argue or belittle all that you are doing. I am so thankful that I can receive your paper. I always try to devour it immediately.

I wish all of God’s people could be open minded enough to stop beating up some of the old subjects and start working on some new ones. Many people just want to harp on the doctrine or decisions of this organization or that. It is totally unnecessary and a complete waste of time.

I believe we should watch what happens to our brothers in other organizations, but I believe only from the point of view to learn how to handle ourselves. We should always have compassion because Christ wants us to learn to love one another and forgive. There are so many hostile elements out there and we brethren need to take care of each other. Whenever we think we need to be, we need to remember to strive towards love and leave behind resentments and fear. It’s hard for me to do but I have a feeling from the word of my God that He wants us to grow up. We fall so easily towards immature behaviors and selfish ambitions.

Your endeavors go noticed. May God bless you in all that you do and thank you so much for giving me something to think about.

— Jackie Sena, Utah

Response: Thanks for your encouragement. We hope your attitude is contagious.

— NSE

Need the Internet? Go To The Library!

Letter: January 10, 1999

Dear Servants' News,

Please continue to send Servants’ News to me, and if I missed last month’s issue please send it to me. [Personal comment deleted]. Some time ago, there was an article in Servants’ News about a Living Room Church Directory organization. I wrote to the address but don’t know if they are still in existence or at that address. If you know of a source of living room churches in the Oklahoma City area, would you please send it to me?

I do not have a computer or access to one, so I can’t just look in the internet. Please don’t suggest that I buy one—I’m a single woman with a low income. I see in the Servants’ News, it always assumes every reader has a computer or works with computers.

— PS, Oklahoma

Response: We will certainly send you the Living Room Church of God directory. We realize that most Servants’ News subscribers do not have computers. We regularly receive suggestions that we save money and distribute our publications only, or primarily by e-mail. We do not accept them as this would reduce our service to most of our subscribers.

We do list e-mail addresses and websites for many things as they are convenient for brethren with computers. But if there is ever something you would like to access and cannot because you do not have a computer, please write us and let us know. Also, please realize that most libraries have free internet access available to patrons and, if they are not busy, will show you how to use it.

— NSE

Sacred Names Doctrine Based on Theory, Not Facts

Letter: July 14, 1999

Dear Norm,

Here is another attempt to disprove the Sacred Name doctrine. Hopefully it is concise and to the point.

God is Pagan!

Letters from your readers refer to God as “Yahweh”. Supposedly Yahweh’s name has been replaced with “Elohim”, or its translation: “God”. Has there been a massive tainting of the Bible? Sacred Name proponents teach that we should only use “Yahweh” when speaking or writing about the Lord or God.

The purpose of this letter is to explain the fundamental error in the Sacred Name doctrine.

Scholars in the 1800’s developed the Documentary Theory of the Bible. They noticed that some chapters in the Bible use “YHWH” (“Jehovah” or “Yahweh”). These chapters became known as the “J” documents. Other chapters use Elohim or God. These became known as “E” documents. According to the theory, priests wrote some of the Bible. These parts were dubbed “P” documents. Supposedly some of these writers substituted YHWH’s name with pagan names.

Those promoting the Sacred Name doctrine quote scholarly books in order to prove that the Bible has been tainted. These books present “facts” derived from the Documentary Theory of the Bible. Sacred Name proponents believe these “facts” support their doctrine. “Facts” created from a theory must not be used to prove doctrine.

This is the basic error.

Go to the library: examine each book which is quoted by the Sacred Name proponents; read the entire context; read the premises set forth by each author in order to determine his philosophy. Use the inter-library loan system to get the books if necessary. You will see that each quote comes from a book, which is based upon the Documentary Theory of the Old Testament. Why must they use these books? No other evidence exists!

If you cannot prove “YHWH” (“Yahweh”) has been deleted and replaced by “Elohim”, “El” or other names, then you cannot prove that the Bible has been tainted.

— Bill Bartholomew, California

Response: Thank you for this explanation. We have seen other people quote from similar scholarly books to “prove” some doctrine or historic point and came to the same realization: Scholars who advocate the Documentary Hypothesis do not believe the Bible was given by God as it claims to be, but was concocted by many different men. Why prove any doctrinal point from theories of men who do not even believe the Bible contains the Word of God?

We would also like to point out that there is no single “Sacred Name Doctrine”, but hundreds of groups with many variations of doctrine. Some who exclusively use Sacred Names do not claim that the Bible has been altered, but say that the Creator has many titles used in the Bible, but one name, “YHWH”. Furthermore, there are some Sacred Name users who simply believe that “Yahweh” is a much better rendering of the Hebrew “YHWH” than “Lord”. They accept those who use other names for the Creator and I accept the name they feel is best. I do not have difficulty with them following their conviction, even though I believe it is not necessary. “For whatever is not from faith is sin” (Rom 14:23).

— NSE

Validity of Christ & New Testament

Letter: August 4, 1999

Dear Norman,

I consider it a privilege, to have known you, met with you at the Calendar Conference in Dallas some years back, and even to see a letter or two of mine or of like-minds, show up in print in your Servants’ News. I have been continuing to scan issues over the past several years, but see no more letters that question the validity of the Catholic created New Testament. Either people want to stay on the ‘easy’ path, where “Christianity is Bliss”, or the questions became too hard to answer. To help save you some expense, you can remove our name from your mailing list. In parting I will pose 5 more easy questions:

1. If there was a son of God, where was he prior to the alleged dwelling on earth?

2. Where is he now?

3. Comparing 33½ years to the length of eternity, what was the sacrifice?

4. If they were both One, who did the dying, and who did the resurrecting, who prayed to who, and how can one be eternal and also be dead three days, and if he wasn’t really dead, once again: Where’s the sacrifice? Check the first commandment again.

5. In John 3:16- Who did God give his son to, anyway?

P.S. Now even the Arch Bishop of Canterbury (2nd only to the Pope) has serious doubts.

— Mr. and Mrs. Bob Rose, TX

Response: Thanks for letting me know, we will gladly discontinue your subscription.

In the last couple of years, we have received almost no letters questioning the validity of the New Testament. Most people I know who rejected the New Testament a few years back have now either rejected the Old Testament, too, or have reexamined their beliefs and are again learning about God from the whole Bible.

The Bishop at Rome gradually gained preeminence over the Bishops in other areas. The central, hierarchical Catholic Church as we know it today did not exist when the scriptures were canonized. If the “Catholic Church” was clever enough to write the New Testament and convince or bully most people into accepting that it was a first-century document, why did not they put their own doctrines in it? They could have easily added a few clear verses about Sunday observance, church authority, Peter buried in Rome, praying to Mary, the trinity, etc. But they did not. There were enough copies of the early NT manuscripts in so many different places that only gradual, very minor changes were possible.

You mentioned the Archbishop of Canterbury as being second beneath the Pope—I think the various other “Orthodox” branches (not to mention the Protestants) would see their groups’ leader as more important—these groups contain many millions. The Christian world has never been as unified (either for good or evil) as most people think.

To answer your numbered questions:

1. I think you want me to say that Christ was in heaven with the Father, but this is a question of much religious debate and I would rather explain why it does not have to be answered. Where was my son before he was born? Science shows that his ova existed in his mother since she was born. Did my son exist in me beforehand? Yes, but probably only for days. For most of history, people have not even known this much. Yet, people have appreciated their sons for millennia, without knowing exactly where they came from. Similarly, I do not have to know exactly where Christ was before His human life in order to appreciate what He did then and where He is now.

2. The Son is now at the right hand of God (Heb 10:12).

3. There is a valuable lesson in comparing Jesus’ or anybody’s lifetime with eternity. How much of a sacrifice is it to live the Eternal’s way? Yet most people seem to want to live “their 70 years” their own way no matter what it does for their eternity. The whole purpose of human existence is to try people’s hearts before they are given eternal life (Deut 8:2, Jer 17:10). To be beaten and die on the cross required only about 1/12,000th of Jesus human life—even a smaller fraction of your longer life. But would you volunteer to undergo a similar punishment today if you knew it would give you eternal life? Would you be able to stick it out, or would you give in to the pain part way through and say “forget eternal life, just let me out of this?” I am not about to say I would do any better. Even though Christ’s stay on Earth was short, and His suffering very short compared to eternity, when it is put in personal terms, it is a great sacrifice for one who deserved no punishment.

4. Check Genesis 2:24: “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become (one) flesh”. The Hebrew here for “one” is echad, the same word used in Deut 6:4, “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one!” Husbands and wives are sometimes one flesh, at other times two. They do some things as one unit, other things as two. The Father and Son are one in purpose—as opposed to pagan gods which compete and fight with each other. To answer your questions: The Son died. The Father raised the Son. The Son prayed to the Father. The Son (was not) eternal while he was a human. When He was dead for three days, He was as dead as any other human, and His suffering was every bit as real as your suffering would be if you died this way. It was more difficult in that He did nothing to deserve it, and was deserted by His friends and the Father. Would you find the story of salvation through Jesus more acceptable if He lived for millions of years as a human and suffered for thousands of years? Compared to eternity, does any fixed number of years mean anything?

5. Your last question is typical of people who are having trouble accepting the truth of the Bible. There is a tendency to think that: “as long as I can keep asking questions that don’t have apparent answers, I am not responsible for obeying the Scripture (or the part I don’t like)”. If you will check an English dictionary, you will find many definitions for the word “give” (or many definitions for the original Greek word didomi). Definition 1 in my Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary says “to make a present of (give a doll to a child)”. In this sense, there must be someone to receive it. Definition 13a says “to suffer the loss of: sacrifice”. There may or may not be a direct receiver of the action. If I give my time to write an article, am I giving it to someone specific? If I don’t know exactly who is going to read the article, who did I “give my time” to? To know the purpose of what the Father gave, all you need to do is read the entire verse:

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that (whoever) believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

Please don’t let language syntax questions prevent you from understanding what the Bible says. At some point, either in this life or after the resurrection, I believe that you will shown beyond doubt what Jesus (Yahshua) has done for you, and I hope you will accept it.

— NSE

Bible Not Limited By Translators

Letter: June 28, 1999

Mr. Edwards,

I don’t know if you read my letters anymore. But as I received the Dec. Servants’ News, I ran across a statement that I have heard frequently from the ministry—as well as scholars and historians: “The Bible…was originally written to a people who lived thousands of years ago and spoke a different language. We have to rely on translators, and …historians”, etc. etc. This statement tells me first of all that you have no idea of the scope and power of God’s grace and His Spirit. (and I’m not saying this only to you).

We limit God when we decide He has to reveal Himself through the devices of men. We limit his power and sovereignty. God’s Word is Forever (Psa 119:152). It is the only source of real truth (John 14:6, 17:17 and 18:37) It expresses the mind of Christ as He is now. And the reason we don’t apply it to us now—is we don’t see the reality of God in our lives.

If you are of the Body of Christ He reveals Himself in you through that Word. The Holy Spirit is not limited by “translators” or “historians”. It is only limited by that awesome mind of Christ—which can do anything, to anyone, at anytime, in any place, and good will be the result.

Do you think God had nothing to do with the KJV of the Bible? After all, He is the Creator of all language. But the “pure” language He gives to “the chosen” is “truth”. His Holy Spirit is the amplified version of the Bible and the written Word is the first line of defense against the powers of darkness, (Matt 4:4) written by inspiration of the Holy Spirit. That is what is written in your heart in Heb 8:10 and 10:16. (not just the ten commandments). Christ refers to the Psalms as part of the law in John 10:34-35. If the Psalms are part of the law that is written in our hearts, then the whole word is written in our hearts—making the image of Christ (Rom 10:4).

— Myra McQueen, Texas

Response: Yes, either I or someone else still reads most of your letters. I believe that God does guide the translation of the King James and other Bibles and can cause the men involved to do anything that He wants. However, I can show beyond any doubt that He did allow some error to be inserted into the various translations. If you claim that the KJV Bible is 100% correct, then that means that all of the Greek and Hebrew manuscripts have numerous errors.

Yes, I believe that people can be led to understand the true meaning of the Scriptures by the Holy Spirit in spite of scribal and translation errors. You, as well as others regularly write to me about understandings of scriptures, supposedly given through the Spirit, that differ from what I understand from my resources. But can I write an article stating that “this must be the meaning of that scripture because the Holy Spirit revealed it to Myra McQueen?” What do I do if someone else writes me that the Holy Spirit revealed a contradictory understanding of the same verse to them?

This is not a hypothetical question—it really happens. I have letters and articles from many different people indicating that the Holy Spirit has revealed the true meaning of chodesh (“new moon”), ben ha arbayim (“between the evenings”) or some other Hebrew or Greek word. The same happens with specific verses like Josh 5:11 or Psalm 81:3. But these “Spirit-revealed meanings” differ.

When people claim to have a revelation of the Spirit, we must check it against the Bible. It is our “first line of defense” as you say. If we believe we have an understanding of what the Bible says on a certain point, then we should live by it. But if the Eternal does not give us an understanding on a specific issue, then we should not take our own best thoughts on the subject and claim they are inspired of the Holy Spirit.

When I stated that the Bible was written to people who lived thousands of years ago, I meant that terms like chodesh and ben ha arbayim were indisputably understood by the people of that time, but may be disputed today. If there is no clear way to check inspiration of the Holy Spirit against the clear meaning of the Scripture, then that inspiration is primarily useful only to the ones who are so inspired.

Even though people are destroyed due to a lack of knowledge (Hos 4:6), there is an even more important issue: what they do with the knowledge they have. People will be judged based on how they use the knowledge that they do have (Luke 12:47-48; Jam 4:17; Rom 2:14-15). While “Church of God” groups tend to have more truth than many other groups, they also have a tendency to focus too much on learning truth and not enough on doing and sharing what they know.

— NSE

Glad to Receive Back SN Issues

Letter: June 27, 1999

Hello Servants' News,

Thank you. Not only did you respond and respond quickly but in large measure as well. I was only expecting to be placed back on your mailer, not receive past newsletters I’d missed in between. The materials came just as I was finishing my fifth round of chemo therapy. This particular chemo gets me down (as in hard) for about a week following treatment. It’s unbelievable what that stuff does. Anyway, having the large number of SN’s to read will certainly help get me through it, has all ready.

There was a small note attached to the newsletters received. I do not know if the note was directly or personally from Mr. Edwards but I presume it was. The note concludes with “May the Eternal deliver you from cancer, or show you clearly why you have it.” I could not ask for more.

Keep on keeping on, and may you do more good than you even realize.

Forrest Reed, Kansas

Response: Yes, the Servants’ News note was from me. If you have access to the Internet, it would probably be worthwhile looking into some alternative cancer therapies. Obviously, there are many phonies, but I have seen some simple ones that appear to provide very good results. Some, as simple as eating a diet of raw seeds, can be done in conjunction with whatever treatments you may be having. Far too much of today’s medicine is based on economics, not on real healing. Maybe one thing that the Eternal wants us to learn is to look to him to help us find truth, rather than to rely on paid “experts”.

— NSE

Rebuttal to GTA Comments

Letter: June 22, 1999

I want to write in rebuttal to your constant negativism and judgmental attitude about Garner Ted Armstrong. Who hasn’t made mistakes? Look at Noah, who got drunk. So drunk, he didn’t know that his grandson committed homosexual activities on him. Look at Lot, Righteous Lot who lived around sin every day, who got drunk after Sodom and Gomorrah was totally destroyed, and his daughters committed incest with him. Look at Abraham, who lied about Sarah or David a man after God’s own heart, who committed murder and coveted another mans wife. and even committed adultery. Who do you think you are, except a man. Look and read about all of God’s people in the Bible. Your idea of perfectionism and what God wants us to be is totally different. Your lack of love, and forgiveness shows what fruit that your organization and others like you are doing. Do you think you are any different any Gerald Flurry or as that matters William Dankenbring?

Your judgmental attitude shows what type of person you really are. Evidently you haven’t heard any of GTA’s impassioned sermons in the past several years, or that matters. You don’t know what he has gone through, the many, many tears he has shed, You who have so right with your hypocritical judgmental attitudes. You who have it so right, picking and picking, picking at this doctrine and that doctrine, with your calendar disputations, and fringes on garments and etc. I applaud Alex Nicholson of Nova Scotia with his letter to you.

You say that you forgive GTA, but you show your real side in your continual garbage. Garbage in and garbage out. You think you have the right to expose anything and everything about any person no matter how many times a person has got on their knees and as cried out to Almighty God for forgiveness. You say, “well he has done this and that you will be judged with the judgment that you have meted”, Mr. Norman Edwards. You bring up slop, and garbage that was in a sewer and have wallowed in the slop trough like a pig.

— James Parkhill, Roswell, NM

Response: Thank you for bringing these Biblical examples to mind. In each case, we see where a “man of God” made a mistake one or two times. That mistake is recorded, and a punishment from the Eternal is often recorded with it (remember Lot’s wife). None of these men in the scriptures whom you mentioned are an example of continual sin. 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1 explain that Church leaders should not be those known for continual sin. How many “stirring” sermons a leader might give or how many tears he has cried repenting is not an issue in these chapters. If these chapters should not be used to show us leaders who are disqualified, than I do not know why they are in the Bible. As far as I know, I have never heard a Garner Ted Armstrong supporter try to explain why these verses are in the Bible.

I would rather teach the Bible. I don’t like working in the slop trough, but it is part of a farmer’s job some time. From the Pharisees, to the Popes, to Protestant leaders, to Sabbatarian leaders, the name of the Eternal has been greatly blasphemed because people continue to revere leaders who can give stirring religious messages, but who did not practice what they preach. “For not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the law will be justified” (Rom 2:13).

— NSE

Interesting Religious Background

Letter: August 10, 1999

Thank you very much for the subscription.

You asked about my religious background, well here it goes. As a child my parents sent my brother and I on a Tabernacle Baptist Church bus that would come around the house on Altus Air Force Base in Altus, OK. I guess as most children do I would go down to the altar every Sunday and “accept” Christ. I think the Lord understands children in this way. After we moved to Tennessee, where I live now, I did not attend church at all. I started dating my now husband (who I had no idea who he was even though we went to the same somewhat small high school and had some of the same friends, our first date was a blind date, God sure works in mysterious ways, huh?). After dating for 3 months we decided we wanted to get married and it was then that he told me that we could not get married unless I accepted Christ, he had been saved since he was a child. So, he took me to a a church that his family went to which was a First Assembly of God church. After the preacher invited those down to the front to accept Christ I went and a lady came to pray for me. She spoke in tongues the whole time and scared me to death. I was even looking behind me to find a door out, needless to say I did not accept Christ at that time. On our way home that day I cried all the way. Chris (my boyfriend at the time and my husband of 11 years) tried to comfort me as best as he could. This type of church is the only church that he had gone to growing up and he didn’t realize it would upset me so.

After explaining to me what had happened and that the lady was very wrong in what she did, we went back again to the church and I accept the Lord. Since then we have attended churches of this nature, Pentecostal, Charismatic. There came a time about 5 years ago that we got very disheartened and to be honest disgusted with the way these churches were acting. So we decided to try some of the main stream denominations and we did. We tried Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian; if it was considered Christian we tried it. All in all what we have found is churches that are more interested in numbers, money and pointing fingers. We did not see much love, true fellowship, and especially true Bible study. So my husband and I decided to stop attending an organized church and study at home. We live in a very small area and there are plenty of churches, but we have tried them all. I know that a church is not suppose to be perfect, but what I have seen and heard truly bordered on ridiculous. When you attend a church service on a Sunday night and there are only 6 people in attendance including you and your spouse and you are all saved and the preacher gets up and preaches on salvation, something is wrong. This type of experience has happened more than once in our quest for a church.

As far as what I believe, I believe the Bible, God’s Holy Word. I know that we are all human and we will disagree, but we should be able to study together and learn what God wants us to learn. So, for now we have decided to do our studying at home. I love the Lord with all my heart and I know that I am not perfect, and I could even have wrong ideas about churches, but from what I have seen in my area, God can’t be too pleased.

I do not belong to any one denomination (to be honest I think they are unscriptural anyway). I am a child of God and saved by the blood of Jesus Christ. I am seeking truth where I can find it beginning with the Word of God first and then to other men and women of God. I am not bitter in anyway about my church experiences, I do wish I could find a fellowship that would put their energies into actually studying the Bible. What churches are feeding their flock right now I fear will not get them through the end times to come. Well, I hope this helps you understand my religious background as you requested. If you have anymore questions or comments, do not hesitate to ask. I love talking about the Lord any chance I get. Thank you so much for sending the publication that I requested.

— Melissa Barker, Tennessee

Response: Thank you for this explanation. If you would allow us to print it, I think many readers would find it interesting.— NSE

Next letter by the same person:

August 18, 1999

Hello in the Name of the Lord!!!

I just received my first issues of Servants’ News and Shelter in the Word two days ago. I have read through several articles and skimmed through the rest for now, I intend to read each one. I must say that you put out a lot of information and teaching, I really like that. I know nothing about the organization of churches you belong to, of which I became very confused while reading about them. It sounds like you might just need to start over. I guess this comes from the fact that I do not ascribe myself to any one denomination. I feel like as true Christians we should seek God’s face in all things and study the scriptures for as much as we can get until His return. From what I have been able to gather from your articles, you are also trying to do the same.

I sent to you a run down of my religious background per your request a couple of days ago and I hope that you’ve had time to read it. If I had to choose a particular denomination that I have been a part of the most in the past it would be the Charismatic or Pentecostal denomination. So, to see your articles on this group was very good. In fact, my own mother-in-law is the television production manager for Kenneth Copeland Ministries in Fort Worth, TX. and has been for several years.

In closing, I would like to let you know that I would very much like to keep receiving your publications and I look forward to reading them. May God Bless You, I look forward to hearing from you soon.

In Christ’s Name,

— Melissa Barker, Tennessee

Response: Thank you for reading and commenting. I hope to print this letter of yours also. It is very helpful to hear a sincere “outsider’s opinion”. The groups which have split off of the Worldwide Church of God have been largely to themselves for decades. Arguments and ideas that we repeat often enough to ourselves sound so good, until someone asks simple questions that we never thought to ask. We are sending you some more literature that we hope you will find helpful.

— NSE

Y2K Not So Bad?

Letter: July 20, 1999

Dear Norm and Pam,

While I was in a large traditional Christian bookstore on Woodward near where I live (Dickson’s), I ran into a display of books dealing with the Y2K issue.

There was a very interesting one by a well-known anti-cultist, Dave Hunt, called “Y2K: A reasoned Response to Mass Hysteria” (Eugene, OR: Harvest House, 1999). It is a book you should consider buying or borrowing because it means it may be best to pull back some from the relatively hardline position you’ve upheld on the subject. While I wouldn’t say it will be a mere “speed bump,” it might not be bad enough to even inflict a recession on the USA if this book’s reasoned arguments are correct. You may wish to bring it to your readers’ attention for “the other side,” because it runs some interesting figures about how quick fixes and automated solutions exist that can much more quickly solve problems than (say) Gary North says when dealing with millions of lines of code. The embedded chip problem may also be badly overblown. This is a book worth hunting down, to say the least. One wouldn’t want to end up in a minor version of the mess HWA did in 1972, namely, finding people complaining about making major financial decisions based on predictions in The Servants’ News that don’t pan out, without (ahem) some “plausible deniability.” I’m well aware you don’t agree with (say) the extreme position that Gary North and other alarmists uphold, and you try to low key things, a typical aspect of the SN style on almost all subjects when you write. But I think there are reasons to at least bring the “optimists” case forward in your publication as a protective measure against the inevitable carping that may break forth in early January if indeed nothing close to economic chaos occurs.

Sincerely,

Eric Snow, Michigan

Response: I have not read the specific book you have mentioned, but I have read a number of writings stating that Y2K will not be a major problem. These writings tend to follow the lines of the book you describe. They talk about automated methods of fixing the problems. They talk about successful tests. They talk about creative ways to recover from problems or bypass them. All of these things are true and I believe them. What they don’t talk about is concrete statistics like: “90% of USA powerplants have been tested by setting their computers to Dec 31, 1999 and all of them worked correctly through the flip-over into 2000”. The reason is that nobody has any such statistics that are based on reality. It has been shown that the NERC statistics are compiled from “pre-written” reports that were sent from NERC to the utilities and then returned. Furthermore, utilities can be listed as “compliant with exceptions”, and do not have to state exactly what the exceptions are. Anybody who wants to honestly write reports saying “Y2K will not be a problem” would have to know how many power plants are compliant and exactly what these “exceptions” are. Unless they have access to some secret, marvelously positive data that nobody else has, then they have no good reason to blindly claim that “all will go well”.

Not all industries have been like the power industry—some appear better off, some appear worse. But there are precious few industries where all of the major companies are announcing that they are compliant right now. I have read about corporations or government agencies which announce that all of their mission critical systems are compliant—and then been amazed to see what they listed as “non-mission-critical”: safety systems, security systems, telephones, climate control, etc. Can you really run a business in the North in the winter without heat or telephones? Is anyone filing reports or keeping stats on “non-mission-critical” systems? Is there any standard definition of a “non-mission-critical” system?

My own research from several sources indicates that a person whose job is primarily preparing a company or agency for Y2K is twice as likely to be storing personal emergency supplies as the average man on the street. If Y2K is not going to be a problem in this country, wouldn’t you think that the computer people who are doing the work would be the least likely to store personal supplies?

The situation with Servants’ News and Shelter in the Word will not be anything like the situation with Herbert Armstrong and his tribulation in 1972/1975. Herbert Armstrong’s authority for his predictions was his interpretation of Bible prophecy. He was like so many hundreds of others who added up numbers and words from the Bible and predicted the return of Christ in their own lifetime. Armstrong had many other failed predictions in the 30s, 40s and 50s, but most of his followers (like myself) were not wise enough to locate and read about these failures, but blindly believed Herbert Armstrong because he did teach so many good things and because he was the head of such a “big work”. Herbert Armstrong never claimed that the Eternal spoke to him or in some way specifically revealed these prophecies to him. But he did tell people they should physically plan for it—so many did not financially plan for the future, did not make needed repairs to houses & equipment, skipped needed dental work, etc. Mr. Armstrong also told people to send all the money they could to his work, rather than buying things for themselves that they wouldn’t be able to enjoy in a few years because of the Tribulation.

My advice for getting ready for Y2K is not based on any specific Bible prophecy—only the clear Biblical truth that the Eternal often has allowed sudden disaster to come upon nations that do not obey Him. I advise them to use their money as they best see fit to prepare for themselves and for others—in ways which will not be a complete loss even if Y2K does not significantly affect them. I do not advise foolish financial decisions or imply that people will be spared by God if they send money to me (or any other ministry). I am not asking them to do anything that I am not doing myself. Did Herbert Armstrong sell his house or expensive furnishings in the late 60s because he would not need them in the tribulation? No.

My writing about what will happen in the year 2000 is based solidly on over 25 years of computer programming with both mainframes and PCs. Large software systems that are thoroughly tested still usually have a few bugs when placed in production. If these bugs turn out to be serious and not immediately correctable, the solution is usually to revert back to the previous version of the software. Getting the world’s software ready for year 2000 is the largest software project ever, as well as the greatest hardware testing effort ever. Unfortunately, there will be no “previous version” to revert to when Y2K problems occur. Those in charge of computers will have to either fix them, replace them, or shut them down. If only a few percent of computers fail, it will still be a major impact on the USA and the rest of the world.

Eric, you seem to be recommending that I print some stuff saying “Y2K won’t be all that bad” to protect myself in case it isn’t. That is not what Servants’ News is about. I do not write things to protect myself from future complaints so Servants’ News can continue. I don’t write articles based on what I think people would like to hear. When I wrote articles on Passover, Herbert Armstrong, and other subjects, I thought that people would discontinue their subscriptions because of what I wrote—and some did. I write because I believe God has given me understanding in certain areas and that I am supposed to share it with others. If I am shown to be wrong in some major way, then I will stop my publication. If I can no longer take care of my family from what I receive for publishing, then I will have to stop it or cut it back drastically. But I am going to write the truth as I understand it, not some mumbo-jumbo stuff that I can use to claim “I was right” no matter what happens. This practice is one of the major problems with political institutions and corporate religion that has created the mess we are in today.

— NSE

Next letter by the same person:

August 8, 1999

Dear Norm,

I give you credit for being willing to take a strong stand, and let the chips fall where they do. Hence, I understand why you don’t wish to “hedge” yourself, or give ambiguous advice that’s on both sides of the fence. However, I do believe you may run into this problem come January of 2000. If Y2K turns out to be the proverbial “speed bump,” at least within the U.S., some may email you and complain about spending (say) $1000 on a (now almost) useless generator or stockpile of food based on what the “Servants’ News” or “Shelter in the Word” published. I assume you would reply, well, based on my professional judgment at the time, that seemed to be a wise precaution and good insurance, but I admit it was a mistake based on current events, etc., etc. I understand the differences you make between HWA and 1972 and your own advice about Y2K.

One difference may not be as great as you believe, in that I doubt it was HWA himself who said to (say) not get dental work done because the end is nigh, or sell your house, etc., but people let themselves get worked up and nobody in the paid ministry stopped them from doing these things (or perhaps, actively encouraged them). Some people may do more drastic things based on what is in the Servants’ News or Shelter in the Word than you would want them to, such as moving to a remote rural area.

But given the above, I would like you to join me in making some predictions about the year 2000. It’s my prediction now that the American unemployment rate will not exceed 8% in that year, and no more than 1-2% of the electrical grid will be down for more than a week due to the Y2K bug in the U.S. I’d like to hear your specific predictions of how bad things will be. If we believe Gary North (and I know you need not agree with him at all), it will be far worse than the Great Depression. If we all are going to have to become subsistence farmers again, then the unemployment rate in his scenario will surely exceed 75%. So, do you believe, for example, it will rise to (say) the Great Depression’s height of 25%? The reason why in part I’m feeling confident is that the Detroit Edison Spokesman in a recent Detroit News article really wasn’t hedging any. He merely said we expect to have power, but there will be extra personnel on hand in case anything does happen. It was definitely a less hedged statement than (say) the one you quoted from Consumers Power in the SN or Shelter in the Word. This article was interesting for showing how much money various large Michigan Corporations were spending on Y2K, such as GM was spending $600 million, Consumers Energy $30 million, and Detroit Edison, $65 million. Ford was spending something like $400 million.

I know not all of what Gary North has said has proven true. For example, he was predicting that since 99 means “end of run” in older main frames, we would start having crashes in late 1998 of various state government or business computers because of when their fiscal years ended and started. Needless to say, nothing happened that I’ve noticed.

It’s not that I haven’t done some preparation myself, such as buying a lot of canned food from Aldi’s beyond what I normally have. I bought a kerosene heater for about $100 and even a cheap inverter for about $40. (That’s an interesting gadget—I never heard of them before they were mentioned in the Shelter in the Word article on Y2K). It’s not as if, as you yourself observe, this stuff is by any means useless. For example, if the power goes out in winter for any reason, Y2K or not, it would be good to have a source of heat independent of a utility since I know the natural gas furnace in my house has a blower and thermostat powered by electricity. If the power goes out, regardless of what natural gas I have, there’s no heat besides the old ghetto trick of leaving the oven open and on. But, despite I’ve made some preparations (alas! going into debt to do so, due to my dismal self-inflicted financial situation), I’ve become more convinced that not many more are necessary.

So, again, I understand where you’re coming from, and that you have professional expertise in this area I most certainly don’t have. But, then again, I’m reminded of the thesis of John Henry Newman’s “The Idea of a University,” which describes how people who are experts in various areas tend to take their expertise or professional discipline’s principles into areas where they are inapplicable or incorrect. The solution, for him, was to set up a situation where the experts are gathered together into one institution where their tendencies to outrun their boundaries are restrained by the experts in other fields catching them, and serving and checks and balances. In the field of medicine, for example, there are reasons to believe the experts don’t always get things right. We shall see if this proves to be true about Y2K as well.

Sincerely,

Eric Snow, Michigan

Response: Herbert Armstrong did accept, even encourage, people to take out loans on their homes and send it into “the work”. He encouraged people who could not give to loan “the Work” money, then later asked them to turn it into a gift. He did discourage people from buying things for themselves because the “tribulation would be here in a few years, anyway”. You are right that his ministers probably went beyond what he said, and I don’t know how much he knew about it. If Mr. Armstrong were aware that his ministers were scaring members into greater contributions with prophetic statements, then he is responsible for not restraining them. I do not have that problem because I do not have ministers whom I control in any way. If you walk up so someone, hand them a Shelter in the Word, say, “Y2K is going to be bad, buy this $10,000 generator or freeze”—that person should be able to tell that you are representing yourself and not me.

I think your Y2K preparations are quite sound. They take care of your basic needs. You are single, flexible, and could go somewhere else for a while if necessary (to an area that is not experiencing as many problems if your area is). A person with his own supply of food would probably be welcome in a number of households or relief places. I would not encourage you to buy all kinds of expense stuff to power your house—that is expensive for one person.

Gary North was predicting mainframe problems due to false “end of files” in 1999. This is where his lack of computer expertise is a factor. There have been such glitches, and there are likely to be more on 9/9/99. However, most of these never reach the public. The kinds of programs that would fail are “batch” systems that run overnight, not “on-line” systems. What happens? The programmers immediately get to work on the problem and fix it—it is not too difficult. They may be a day late putting statements in the mail, but they do not have to tell anybody.

All of the truly difficult problems will not hit until very close to 2000 where there simply is not room in some systems to adequately store the date. Also, some date calculations will fail, producing negative numbers or erroneous numbers. These are many times harder to fix than the “end of file” problem. Also, you must realize that most automated decisions that have major impact are based on present or past, not future events—which always have some uncertainty. This is especially true with embedded chips. Powerplants are rarely automatically shut down or accounts are rarely automatically closed because of something planned to take place some number of days into the future. But if an automated fire protection system erroneously concludes that none of its heat sensors have returned a reading for the past 100 years, it may turn on the sprinklers everywhere. This could be messy and expensive.

Problems are occurring, though. I have experienced more banking and billing errors in the last 2 years than I have in the last 20. In one case, $10,000s of dollars were added to my account, only to be taken out a few days later. When I have called to correct errors, the overworked-sounding customer service people sometimes knew the exact nature of the problem even before I told them who I was or what I was calling about. This is a sure sign of a computer problem where some aspect of processing was consistently wrong for a large number of people.

It does not make sense to me to make predictions of unemployment or grid operational percentages. Nobody has the data. Right now, I believe the high employment now is partly due to people and governments getting ready for Y2K. Because of the seriousness, businesses are going into savings, if necessary, to buy extra supplies and make sure that necessary work is done. This high employment could continue into 2000 to fix Y2K problems, or it could backfire—much depends upon government policy and the attitude of people (largely steered by TV).

There is no doubt that many people will buy generators and other things that they will not use. On the other hand, there are people who have used their Y2K generators during summer power outages. Last night, we were out of the inexpensive health-food soup that we buy in Lansing. So, we pulled some out of the Y2K supply, and will more than replenish it next time we are at the store. We can get it nearby, but it costs more. Having extra supplies can be a money saver at times. I think there is a high likelihood of other disasters during the next few years, for which Y2K preparations will be very helpful.

— NSE

Leave WCG, Find New Information

Letter: July 8, 1999

Dear Norm,

[paragraph about e-mail address deleted]

In answer to your question, my husband was baptized in 1974 and I in 1981. Prior to our baptism into the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit I was a Methodist who was merely sprinkled and he was an atheistic Catholic dabbling in Rosecrucian. We just left the ‘New Worldwide Church of God’ because we realize that what is finally being said and that took a while to understand because of the innuendos and deceits and finger pointing, that Joe Jr. is not only not the true head of the church, but is espousing the same lies that the Methodist church was trying to convince me were true. God is not a trinity, the law is not done away so we Christians can just do as we please, the holy days and the true 7th day Sabbath are sanctified and set apart for our purpose and everything found in the Bible is true and inspired of God as is, without embellishment from mankind. We have returned to the KJV as the best English translation that we have and have left this church led by Satan to be a part of a growing number of Living Room Churches of God. We are happier in our worship than for many years in the corporate system. I finally understand thanks to your web site what the real and true meaning of Nicolaitanes is and many other things. I do wish to be placed on your regular mailing list and I have received some of the back issues that you have promised especially the issues pertaining to HWA.

Please see the attachments to see a letter forwarded to me that I am personally sending to many of my church friends. Mr. Joe is not going to allow Sabbath keeping (many think he will relent and permit them to worship freely, but this letter proves otherwise) for very much longer and so there will be many more of us who will need healing. It [the attachment] was forwarded to me regarding the meeting that took place in early June with the so-called underground WCGers of about 100 or so brothers and sisters with Joe Tkach Jr. asking to be permitted to worship God freely during the Holy Days and Sabbaths, but Joe’s original remarks were sympathetic, but later he disfellowshipped them all with no apologies, He said that their statement of beliefs was vile to him. So much for loyalty and truth.

Mr. Fred Coulter has been sending me care packages of healing after I learned of him on your web site. His material has been a God send and we thank him profusely. I downloaded nearly all of your articles and although some may be not quite right doctrinally, Carl Franklin’s articles were well done. My only request is that the authors always put page numbers on them as we can’t edit most of them and to copy them is a nightmare when the document is a long one.

I did not realize there was a controversy of Sacred Names, but after reading Carl’s work I see some are stuck on this to the point of not seeing the love of that God whose names they cherish so much. Let’s look at the forest not just the trees. For us who have just left WCG, the idea of getting bogged down in non basic doctrine is a time wasting effort. Let us just realize that there are more important fish to fry and time is surely running out. We thank God everyday that our eyes are now open and our lamps are being trimmed and hopefully we have enough oil to get us through this next few years of bad news.

Fred has brought to our attention how fast the world is coming together to form a one world religion and one world government. Another web site although not put out by Sabbatarians is worth looking into. It is the URL address:http://watch.pair.com. Nearly all of the secret societies and other organizations one needs to be aware of are listed on that site with reports of their more recent activities. I am sick to death of the UCG. GCG, and other CoG infighting and one sided thinking that they are better when in fact they all have much repenting to do. God is on time and the bridegroom nears his return. Be ready I pray and thank you for your efforts. Another site that helped us when we were starving to death, was the site in Stewarton Scotland. It is at URL www.rmplc.co.uk/eduweb/sites/sbs777. Mr. Loughran is somewhat in need of learning some things, but the basics he does have down and is good for the high school educated person. He does not get into the intellectual eschatology and other philosophical debates and teaches on the basics as found in the Bible, KJV. If one stops worrying about all the “cemetery” (seminary) education and their big words and gets to the basics of the Bible as taught by the Holy Spirit then one can get back on track. Most of these seminary trained people, including Ambassador graduates) do not show that they are being led by the Holy Spirit and let their ego and vanity lead the sheep astray. And if they are not being led by God’s Holy Spirit they are dead and in need of a real cemetery. How can the dead lead the living?

Thank you for your efforts in bringing us a wide array of ideas that among them can be found the truth and when you see that someone is abusing the truth, you have the courage to black list them as you did with one of your people recently. I have not kept up with the politics or the Who’s Who of the several Churches of God and do not need to know other than to know who is telling what God wants us to hear and not what they want us to hear.

Thank you again,

— Charlotte A. Grantham, Ohio
(soon to be disfellowshipped, I suppose we quit so they can’t fire us)

Response: Thank you for sharing your story. It is good that you are seeing your own responsiblity to find and do the Eternal’s will in your life, rather than let the leader of one Church organization do it for you. However, we are sure that you are finding that once you begin looking at many sources, you will see that some conflict with others, and some turn out to be not quite reliable all of the time. (I can’t endorse every source that you mentioned.) Nevertheless, you are better off with a mind open to hard-to-find truth, than one locked into certain error.

— NSE

Next letter by the same person:

July 31, 1999

Dear Norm,

Sure I am glad that you thought my thoughts worthy of publication. We received a letter from Joe [Tkach] before this group met with them concerning the keeping of the Sabbath and Holy Days and told me when asked a WWJD (What Would Jesus Do?) question. I asked if Jesus were to come back today which day would he keep as a worship day, Saturday or Sunday? He replied that (I am paraphrasing here) he hoped he would not shock me when he said that Jesus would surely keep Sunday since that was the day that everyone else in this society is keeping. I was not only shocked and angry, but the light began to dawn right then and there and I refused to go back to that organization. We quit paying our offerings to them and began keeping Sabbath Day worship at home. So far, although several understand the importance of this move, have not joined us. We pray that they too will make that move, but it is in God’s hands.

But yes you may certainly publish the letter and if you like this follow-up message to you. And I do thank you for sending us to Fred. His tapes and literature are just what the confused brethren need, to heal.

When our Lord and Master returns, we can be assured that all of these little splinters will be put back together again as long as they continue in their faith to God and Jesus Christ. This had to be done in order to protect us as it was allowed in the early Church when they fled Jerusalem and went to the uttermost parts of the world taking their way of life with them.

Thank you for your work also, God will bless you as you continue in His will.

Love in Jesus Christ.

— Charlotte and Ken Grantham, Ohio 

Response: Thank you for sharing your story. I know Fred Coulter (PO Box 1442; Hollister, California 95024-1442; 831-637-1875) deeply studies the Bible for his writings and speacking in a way that most corporate church leaders do not. I don’t agree with all of his conclusions, but then he does not agree with all of mine either. I would hope that Mr. Coulter would work with other indpendent Sabbatarians more. He specifically asked me not to list his Feast sites in Servants’ News—he seems to discourage those in his group from fellowshipping with those that have doctrinal differences. But at least he does not “disfellowship” people for studying other things. Fred Coulter has certainly helped many people who have left the WCG.

No teacher is perfect, and I believe that the Eternal steers the people who are seeking Him to the teachers that are strong in what they need at the time.

— Norman Edwards

Summary of Rector/plagiarism Letters

We received quite a few letters about plagiarism and Jim Rector. They fell into four categories:

  1. Thanks for exposing the sin of stealing another’s work (plagiarism), whether it be among corporate or independent teachers.
  2. The truth of God belongs to God and the principle of plagiarism is man’s law and is therefore irrelevant for Bible teachers.
  3. Plagiarism is wrong but Jim Rector said he has repented so we should drop the subject.
  4. We have already printed too much on about Rector/plagiarism so quit it.

We realize that the last point has some wisdom. Rather than include several pages of letters we will print only this box. According to Matthew 18, we originally tried to make this a private matter with Jim Rector. When he would not fully acknowledge the problem to those brethren affected, we took other witnesses, then finally brought it to the church. We respect individuals’ rights to make their own decisions about this matter. We hoped Jim would keep his promise to produce an accurate list of which of his tapes are plagiarized, but as far as we know, he has not. This makes it very difficult for those still desiring to study his material.

We think it is only fair to warn those who continue to duplicate Jim Rector’s tapes (even if just giving them away) that the legal articles we read on plagiarism indicate that such duplication would constitute being an “accessory to plagiarism”. It is unlikely that any of the publishers of the works Jim copied from would sue as the cost of such a suit would probably be greater than the amount of money they would recover. (However, if they did sue, they would probably name every person they could find that was involved in the production of tapes—courts often allow plaintiffs to collect from defendants based on their ability to pay, not on their share of the plagiarism. Wealthy people or those with their own businesses might end up paying most of the damages.)

Some of our letters indicated that brethren believe they should “obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29) and disregard “man’s law” if Bible truth is being taught. We think there are ways to teach the necessary truths without breaking man’s law, and that we should not cause such offense unnecessarily.

For those trying to avoid the copying of plagiarized tapes, please realize that our lists in the last issue were incomplete. There are many more tapes which we believe are plagiarized, but we did not find the original sources. We have not had anyone report any additional sources, nor has anyone claimed that any of our sources were in error. We would like to point out an error that we did not catch until after publication. We mistakenly stated that the three tape set A Passion for Fulness (July 1, 8, 15, 1995) was plagiarized from a book by the same name by Jack Hayford. Actually, only the title of the book was used for this series. Some of the contents of Hayford’s book were read onto a previous Rector tape, A Passion for God (December 10, 1994). — NSE

 


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