A New Look at the Old–What is ‘Church of God Perspective’?

Pretty soon, the world will be turning the page on the calendar or replacing it with a new one.  Many will be celebrating a “New Year”, some with very questionable traditions involving too much alcohol.

For me, I don’t celebrate the arrival of New Years because of its ties to Christmas.  Originally, Christmas was the beginning of the new year.  It came at the end of a celebration called Saturnalia, but 25 December was a special date for the turning of the sun.  It was considered the birthday of Mithras, and it signaled a new calendar year.  Now, the tradition has changed to a week of almost steady celebrations between Christmas Eve and New Years Day, but it is much the same idea.

Still, I don’t think it’s wrong to rethink what has gone before, what is now and what is to come.  While changing out a calendar is a physical act, there are some mental triggers with anything new.  It is a good time to renew, revise or change, or even a time to dust off old things and have another look at them.  Plus, recent events have forced a new beginning upon me, and I think that should be addressed as well.  And, so, I want to review the whys and wherefores of this blog.

1. First of all, this blog is “Church of God (COG) Perspective”.  It never has been and still is not and is not intended to be tied to a particular Church of God church organization.  I’m not going to claim pure impartiality, but the purpose of this blog is not to extol the virtues of any given organization of men.  I pointed out where my prior association differed from the traditional teachings of the Worldwide Church of God (WCG) under Herbert W Armstrong (HWA) and for a time under Garner Ted Armstrong (GTA).  I myself will differ from the traditional teaching taught by HWA, but I hope that it will be clear when I do so.  I hope to make it clear when any organization does so.  The point is not to prove HWA correct, but rather to explain why the divergence when it exists (if I know).  This will hopefully enforce a certain level of objectivity upon the topic at hand.

2. This blog started actually on AirSet as a place to put Bible notes, compare current events against the Bible and to discuss theological and religious concepts in light of the Bible.  Basically, it chronicles one man’s spiritual journey and thoughts along the way and gives a place to share those thoughts interactively with others.

3. This blog is intended as a place to pull up a chair, have a cup of coffee and have civil, rational discussions that, hopefully, help illuminate the truth.

4. This blog is a place to give honor to God.  References to God the Father and Jesus Christ must be capitalized as a sign of respect.  The Holy Spirit is still capitalized because it belongs to both and is of and from them; it is an honor to God and Jesus, since the Holy Spirit is not a person that can be honored.

There are some things this blog is not:

1. This is not a place to bash HWA, GTA or the WCG.  It is not a place to bash Ambassador College (later Ambassador University).  If that is your interest, there are lots of other places for that type of activity.  I recommend Google.

2. This is not a place to idolize HWA, GTA, etc.  There are places for that as well.

3. This is not a place to bash mainstream Christianity.  Civil discussions of differences and why they run counter to the Bible are fine, but they need to be civil.  Also, might I remind you that "material that promotes hatred toward groups based on race or ethnic origin, religion, disability, gender, age, veteran status, or sexual orientation/gender identity is not allowed on Blogger."

4. This is not a place to bash each other.  There are millions of such places on that thing called the Internet.  This is not one of them.  Religious discussions, by their nature, can become heated.  However, remember that the discussion should center on the merits of ideas and not each other.

5. In general, this is not the place for uncivilized discussion.

5a. If you want to be a troll, go find a bridge to live under.

5b. No flaming.  I have the fire extinguisher.

5c. No words generally understood to be curse words, or your comments will not be blessed by appearing.

5d. No words or expressions that take God’s name in vain.  No initials that stand for words that take God’s name in vain.

6. This is not a place for spam.  I hate spam.  Really.  Don’t even make it look like spam.  If you have something relevant to add, say it, but if you are just here to promote your own blog and website, then I’ll gladly dump your comments into the bit bucket.

6a. Websites should be relevant to the topic at hand.

6b. Websites must be suitable for work (SFW).  Sites in comments deemed NSFW means comment deleted.

6c. No email addresses, even if its supposedly your own.  I don’t want spam crawlers picking it up and spamming you.  I also don’t want spam crawlers picking up someone else’s email and spamming them if you type it wrong.  If you must use an email address, munge it so that ‘bot programs cannot pick it up (ex: “myusername AT domain DOT com”).

If you are not familiar with netiquette, you might want to read The Core Rules of Netiquette.

Other than that, I think you know I rarely delete or fail to publish a comment.  They have mostly been spam, but there recently have been a couple of personal attacks on the character of other individuals that I have deleted as well.

If we all follow “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them", then we won’t have any problems.

0 Comments

  1. I don’t celebrate the arrival of New Years because of its ties to Christmas.

    Aha — there's a reason why you're leaving the "liberal" UCG. My Pastor has offered a "Blessed New Year" greeting at services the last two years. And a Good News video commentary 12/31/09 did as well.

  2. @Anonymous: Actually some Seventh Day Adventists don't celebrate Christmas, either.

    Furthermore, the Catholic Encyclopedia admits, "Christmas was not among the earliest festivals of the Church." If that's the case, it should tell us that we are not keeping the customs of the early Church if we keep Christmas.

    Furthermore, the same article admits:

    "The well-known solar feast, however, of Natalis Invicti, celebrated on 25 December, has a strong claim on the responsibility for our December date. For the history of the solar cult, its position in the Roman Empire, and syncretism with Mithraism … has collected the evidence for the feast, which reached its climax of popularity under Aurelian in 274….
    It would be impossible here even to outline the history of solar symbolism and language as applied to God, the Messiah, and Christ in Jewish or Christian canonical, patristic, or devotional works….

    "…'But they call it the "Birthday of the Unconquered". Who indeed is so unconquered as Our Lord . . .? Or, if they say that it is the birthday of the Sun, He is the Sun of Justice.'"

  3. "John D Carmack said…
    @Anonymous: Actually some Seventh Day Adventists don't celebrate Christmas, either."

    The truth is not really widely known or actively taught in the SDA church, and as a result many SDAs are getting into Christmas. Their false prophetess, Ellen G. White, seems to have stuck them with Christmas trees by some ignorant remark that she once made about there not necessarily being anything wrong with having a fragrant evergreen tree at the front of the church with gifts to God on it. She probably thought it was a clever thing to say, but did not really know what she was doing.

    A number of years ago now, it was interesting to notice that some SDAs who knew better and did not approve of Christmas were ones who had also listened to HWA on the side.

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