COG Writer Dr Robert Thiel writes in COG News a couple of reports about UCG; one is from the UCG Inside United: Realtime about the Sabbath issue in Chile (too bad it is pretty much a case of too little too late), and the other is on a disturbing letter about South Africa ministers posted on the AC site. You can read Thiel’s artice at UCG Clarifies Sabbath Position, Finally (But Now South Africa). Gotta run for now.
Did they not learn from Latin America that these tactics don't improve their position? I'm not aware how things in South Africa were going to begin with, but this seems like it's guaranteed to result in the group splitting off because of bungling the handling of it. Again.
@Andrew: I'm really beginning to wonder if the whole goal in the first place wasn't to have a smaller church. I guess the only thing stopping me from believing such a thing is that I don't see a good reason why they would want that.
NOW they call a ministers' meeting? At the end of January?
Maybe it's because the UCG ministry is aging — the leaders have seemed slow to respond to many things in all this.
The sad truth of the matter is that there is a serious flaw in the DNA of the Church of God – whatever flavor you prefer – UCG, COG-Wa, Rod, Ron, Fred or Flurry. The history of this church is filled with continual conflict, divisions, judgment and more. Every new conflict produces more division, with each side certain that they're the sheep of the true small flock. And when it does, several of the other COGs act like vultures, hoping to pick up a few choice pieces.
The problem isn't the Sabbath or the other distinctive doctrines, but the heart and attitude of those drawn to the "one true church / aren't we special" nonsense that has saturated this tradition for numerous decades. All the while, the good works and the love by which others will recognize them, go undone.
Some time back, Ron Dart wrote an essay entitled "Rebuilding the Church" which you can find on his personal site. It's one of the most insightful pieces that a COG minister has written in a long time and addresses the problem with the COG DNA. And it's from a man that both knows and loves the church.
BTW, I keep the Sabbath, Holy Days and the other distinctive doctrines, I just do it while attending and serving with a healthy Protestant church.
@Ron S: Ron Dart has put out some good articles. This one sounds like an article for the times we are in. I think I'll check it out. Thanks.
Ron S: Wow! Eloquently said. There's a difference to you, man. Humble (don't let that go to your mind) and right on target. Well said.
Link to Ron Dart's essay:
"BTW, I keep the Sabbath, Holy Days and the other distinctive doctrines, I just do it while attending and serving with a healthy Protestant church."
Where did you ever find a protestant church that keeps the Sabbath and Holy days and meets on the seventh day? And how can a protestant church be "healthy' spiritually?
Anony Jon said "And how can a protestant church be "healthy' spiritually?"
My dad learned more about the law and rules from WCG by exiting the Protestant churches. I have learned more from the Protestant churches about God by exiting WCG. BTW, my dad no longer keeps the Sabbath and Holy Days. He's a member with an independent break off of WCG.
The same question could be asked of you, Anony Jon, "how can any break off of WCG be healthy spiritually?"
Each have their hang ups and one is no "closer" to God than the other, just different. Look at the vast differences in Rev 2 & 3, as well as Colossians, Galatians, Philippians.
"The same question could be asked of you, Anony Jon, "how can any break off of WCG be healthy spiritually?"
Personally, I broke away from WCG for exactly that reason–to maintain my Spiritual health. Of course a few years after my departure, along with all others maintaining there Spiritual health–WCG ceased to be a viable COG–going back into the protestant mainstream.
The way of the true COG and the protestant maintstream travel opposite paths the majority of the time–hence the reason for my question.
It is hard for me to imagine a true Christian attending the services of a mainstream protestant church and continue to keep the Sabbath and Holy days. I knew a man several years ago who began to attend a protestant church with his wife and it did not take him long to lose sight of the need to keep the S. & HD's
He is not in the COG today–to my knowledge.
But maybe you are looking at what the COG is differently than I am also.
Bob Thiel comments:-
‘UCG may have had less of a crisis if it would have done this three to seven months ago.’
No doubt this is true. Which is interesting when you consider the following:-
– The Chilean family had asked the council to give a decision on their situation.
– It is the Doctrinal Committee that puts its recommendations to the Council for their decision.
– The Doctrinal Committee’s chairman was Jim Franks. Others on the committee included Mike Blackwell.
– Jim Franks resigned from COE early December, leaving Mike Blackwell to give an update report to the council, in December, before he too resigned.
– Less than a month after these events the doctrinal committee, without Jim Franks and Mike Blackwell, gave their decision finding against the Chilean family.
So any ‘dragging of feet’ in the months up to December would lie at the feet of the doctrinal committee chairman, Jim Franks.
A major charge against UCG during the past months was that doctrine, particularly the Sabbath, was being changed, or watered down; the main example cited being the Chilean query.
This issue has caused a number of members to leave UCG, many heading to COGWA
Jim Franks is on the Temporary Leadership team of COGWA.
The Doctrinal committee taking time to deliberate, and in fact not making any decision while Jim Frank was chairman, was a factor contributing to people leaving UCG.
In the main they were going to an organization which, frankly, needs members to pay the salaries of the many paid ministers that will be hoping for employment there.
Jim Franks, chairman of the Doctrinal Committee UCG, by not making a decision on the Chilean Sabbath query, was aiding Jim Franks, Temporary Leadership team COGWA.
The conclusion of the matter – a conflict of interest on the part of Jim Franks.
Questeruk wrote: "So any ‘dragging of feet’ in the months up to December would lie at the feet of the doctrinal committee chairman, Jim Franks."
Perhaps. Normally, one would think he might be busy, but it wasn't like the COE and administration were running by them any papers to be published either. So, what was he doing? I don't know. I don't even know how the original mid-December date even came up, but it was established before the "Sabbath paper" was published.
However, one thing I should point out is that the COE originally remanded the decision to gather more facts. Could the COE have been waiting until all of the doctrinal committee were supporters of them to render a decision? The skeptic in me says, "Yes," while the cynic in me says, "From what I've seen, I don't know that they are competent enough to do that."
The better part of me, however, would rather not view them as evil unless there is clear proof of that.
Anony Jon: Sabbath and Holy Day observance – and thus the crux of the matter. "If you don't keep the Sabbath and the Holy Days, you're not a Christian."
Please tell me, what is more important:
correcting a pornography problem or keeping the Sabbath?
Healing a marriage that's on the rocks or observing the Holy Days?
Bringing up kids in a loving environment or Sabbath observance?
I could go on and on. I kept the Sabbath and Holy Days sincerely and in a dedicated manner for 30+ years and had all these other MAJOR problems I couldn't fix. When all the issues came up in the mid-90's with WCG I reluctantly exited out of WCG – reluctantly because I was told my salvation would be gone and I would be miserable – and I stopped attending a church altogether for about 6 months. I was invited one week to Presbyterian service and reluctantly went – expecting God to punish me.
I was miserable so I had nothing to lose. Amazingly Jesus showed up in a Protestant church! Now how do I know it was Jesus? Because after 14 years of being out of an unhealthy environment Jesus fixed my marriage, He fixed my problem with pornography, He gave me a love for Him and His Word, He changed my heart to want to forgive others that I had a problem with forgiving for years, He fixed my relationships.
All this while in a Protestant church! Protestant churches aren't even worth crap. They send people to hell like any other thing. But Jesus can be there as well as He can be in Churches of God.
My life has changed. I'd much rather show up to the judgment with a satisfied wife who loves me, obedient and loving kids, a good conscience, without harboring sins and unforgiveness, without a pornography problem, etc. than show up with all those problems, but I kept the Sabbath and Holy Days. And that's not to say I don't have sin. I do. And it's not to say I'm better because God healed my marriage and pornography problems. I still struggle, but I know WHO is going to get me through. It's not me, my obedience, my overcoming. It's Jesus that will save me.
Can you do all those things and still keep the Sabbath and Holy Days? Yes. But it's "United" that is having the relationship problems. It's spiritually an unhealthy environment. I know because I was in it in the 90's. I got out and Jesus showed up. Listen I'm not advocating going Protestant. Jesus worked that way in my life. I'm advocating Jesus. The rest is secondary. You're advocating Sabbath and Holy Days (or you're not Christian). I'm advocating Jesus. If you don't have Him, I know for a fact you're not Christian. Happy Sabbath.
@Anonymous 8:09am, Amen! I believe the Sabbath and Holy Days to be some of the "least of these commandments" spoken of in Matt. 5:19.
Can one break the least of these commandments and still be saved? According to Matt. 5:19 they can. Sure I know the old explanation, "They'll be least in the kingdom because they'll be ashes under our feet."
I no longer believe that explanation. IMO Sabbath, Holy Days, clean and unclean are all "least of these commandments". I believe they are to be kept, but the weightier matters of the law are much more important.
BTW, anonymous 8:08am, how's the weather in southeast Florida?
Anonymous wrote: "Please tell me, what is more important:
"correcting a pornography problem or keeping the Sabbath?
"Healing a marriage that's on the rocks or observing the Holy Days?
"Bringing up kids in a loving environment or Sabbath observance?"
You'll have to forgive me, as my Bible doesn't have an appendix in the back with a forced ranking of sins.
You seem to be under some serious misconceptions:
1. Apparently, you've bought into the prosperity gospel. What you write indicates to me that you believe all you have to do is "believe on Jesus", and your work will prosper, your kids will love you, your wife will only cook the meals you enjoy, your friends will never disappoint you and you will always have peace in your heart.
Jesus, the real One that is, promised a sword. He stated mother would be against daughter, and brother against brother. He promised persecution. He said you would be kicked out of religious organizations. He even said you would be "hated" for His sake.
2. You seem to believe that some sins are worse than others. To an extent, that is true. In the long run, however, it won't matter because the only one that will lead to the Lake of Fire is the one you don't repent of. Why? Easy. You have made something more important than God and violated the greatest commandment. It doesn't matter if it is lust, uncontrolled anger and hostility (i.e., bitterness), stealing, lying or breaking the Sabbath. The ultimate punishment is eternal death. So, which one is more important? The one that breaks the greatest commandment.
3. Relatedly, some Protestants create "god" in their own image. They want a warm and fuzzy god they can cuddle up to. They want a god that won't require them to change or do things that are difficult or against the grain. They want one that understand them and their desires, rather than the One Who requires them to change. Yes, you are required to change! No matter how much you argue about it, you are required to do something. It's called "repentance". It means swimming upstream against the tide. It means being different.
We are called "Christians" for a reason. Like I said in the other thread, we are supposed to be disciples. It is more than a student. That isn't just one who goes to a lecture, takes notes and crams for a final. No, they are adherents and followers, which means they imitate the one they are following. Disciples in the ancient world would physically stay with the master all the time. They would travel with him, eat with him and sleep where he slept.
The point is that Jesus kept the Sabbath. Jesus kept the holy days. Simply put, if you are a real Christian, you will too. It isn't about what's "more important". They are all important!
If you are not willing to show outwardly that you will follow Jesus no matter what, then you are denying Him. It is the same as caving in and denying His power.
"But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven."
" You'll have to forgive me, as my Bible doesn't have an appendix in the back with a forced ranking of sins."
Nope no appendix, but Matthew 5 says there are indeed "least of these commandments" and Matt 23 speaks of weightier matters of the law.
Sure, while the penalty for sin is the same no matter what. The bible certainly does teach a ranking of laws.
Regarding the doctrinal committee… my understanding is that the committee actually presented their opinion on the situation in Chile sometime ago and the Council rejected it.
But I have nothing of the matter in writing, and only what I know anecdotally and from other members.
@John: God also said that the Sabbath would be a sign of His people. And that the Sabbath and Holy Days will be kept by EVERYONE in the Kingdom of God, showing those laws will still be in effect…
@Anony: Don't you see that we also advocate Jesus? A change of the heart will -also- result in a change in behavior. You need Christ in you to live properly, and to live properly you have to keep the Law.
There are many scriptures that have been quoted from the NT (the writings of the apostles and Christ). You cannot argue around those. They are not vague in intent, meaning, or application. They are in the book you call Holy and accept as scripture. If you accept that premise, if you accept Christ, then you have to accept the Law.
It's really as simple as that. You can try to make emotional appeals or talk about environments (and no, UCG is not very healthy -at the moment-), but that doesn't change what the truth of the situation is or isn't and what we are to do or not do.
@Andrew, I'm not sure which anonymous you're writing to but I'm assuming anonymous 8:09am since you mention "not very healthy at all".
For some reason you guys are presuming that anonymous 8:09am is against the law. I haven't read that in any of his posts.
What I'm reading from him is a distinction between the weightier matters of the law and the less weightier "least if you will" matters of the law.
One aspect of Paul's ministry was to bring gentiles unto obedience per Rom. 15:18
Rom 15:18 For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ hath not wrought by me, to make the Gentiles obedient, by word and deed,
Isn't that what we should be doing?
If you ask me, we'd be much better off going to Protestant churches and showing them how one not only keeps the weightier matters of the law, justice, mercy, and faith, but also keeps the Sabbath, Holy Days, clean and unclean, etc.
Once again, not by preaching to them, but by building relationships with them.
We are all still learning. Why can't we give our fellow man, who are at least trying to worship Jesus, although possibly in vain, at least the opportunity to repent and learn even the importance of the "least of these commandments", whatever they may be.
"@John: God also said that the Sabbath would be a sign of His people. And that the Sabbath and Holy Days will be kept by EVERYONE in the Kingdom of God, showing those laws will still be in effect…"
While this is technically correct, I've always preferred saying that the Sabbath is a sign that the creator God, the one who created the heavens and the earth, is our God. The God we worship.
Although I'm sure a minor point to many, in my mind saying that "the Sabbath is a sign that we worship the Creator" is much better.
Also, while the Sabbath indeed will be kept in the millennium by those who are still physical, and I know some will disagree with me here, but once we're all spirit I highly doubt we'll be keeping the Sabbath.
Why? The Sabbath was made for man. We will no longer be man.
You know, I would have thought saying "ranking" would have indicated what I was saying clearly enough. However, I thought that saying "forced ranking" would have really made sure that the point was made.
So, which is worse? Adultery or murder? Stealing or breaking the Sabbath? Scriptures please.
You see, there are no Scriptures with a detailed list like this with numerical severity attached to them. Such questions are meaningless, then.
"Least of these commandments" is being used to show that no matter which ones you consider "least", your standing in the Kingdom will depend upon sincerely trying to keep them and teaching others likewise.
"Weightier matters" in the NIV are: justice (a legal term), mercy and faithfulness. Jesus was telling them that their priorities were wrong. However, He also added, "You should have practiced the latter [weightier matters], without neglecting the former [lighter matters]." He was giving them a principle, which they in their traditions were breaking.
@John, you wrote: ""Least of these commandments" is being used to show that no matter which ones you consider "least", your standing in the Kingdom will depend upon sincerely trying to keep them and teaching others likewise."
Not according to Matthew 5, It says that those who break the least of these commandments and teach men to break them, will be least in the kingdom.
According to this, they will be in the Kingdom, presumably because they believed in Jesus as their savior, but their imperfect obedience resulted not in death, but in a lessor reward.
I said "imperfect obedience" for a reason, none of us obey perfectly.
Tell me, who's better off someone who keeps the 7th day Sabbath, although imperfectly, or one who being misinformed, rests on Sunday thinking it's the Sabbath?
My Grandmother and Grandfather probably rested on Sunday as good as or better than any Sabbath keeper.
So, is their faith in Christ subordinate to their keeping the Sabbath on the right day? Or is it the heart that we're all judged on?
My hope is that Christ shows grace/mercy to my Grandmother and Grandfather and brings them up in the first resurrection, for if he does, although my being a Sabbath keeper, there's hope that he shows grace/mercy to my many other sins.
The point is, we're not making light of the law, the Sabbath, or anything else, what we are doing is trying to show the correct perspective on law keeping.
Andrew wrote: "my understanding is that the committee actually presented their opinion on the situation in Chile sometime ago and the Council rejected it."
Well, officially they said they "remanded" the decision. That's not quite the same thing, but is more like "we are rejecting it until you fix something." Apparently, they wanted more information.
"However, I thought that saying "forced ranking" would have really made sure that the point was made.
So, which is worse? Adultery or murder? Stealing or breaking the Sabbath? Scriptures please."
It is you who seems to be missing the point that anonymous 8:09am was making.
So I'll ask by quoting him,
"which is more important:
correcting a pornography problem or keeping the Sabbath?
Healing a marriage that's on the rocks or observing the Holy Days?
Bringing up kids in a loving environment or Sabbath observance?"
Now I'll answer. The answer which was obvious but seems to be overlooked.
Correcting the pornography problem is more important.
Repairing the marriage is more important.
Raising the children in a loving environment is more important.
These are more important, while not leaving the Sabbath and Holy Days undone.
How complicated is this to understand?
He never said one should be done while the other undone.
The Sabbath was made for man. For our benefit. For our relationship with God and our fellow man.
So the point is, while the Sabbath is indeed important, relationships are much more important.
Anonymous wrote: "Also, while the Sabbath indeed will be kept in the millennium by those who are still physical, and I know some will disagree with me here, but once we're all spirit I highly doubt we'll be keeping the Sabbath.
"Why? The Sabbath was made for man. We will no longer be man."
But who better to show them how? Or, did you mean "all" as in "everyone"? In that case, maybe.
After there is no more need of sun and moon, it is questionable how time will be utilized at that point. I cannot begin to understand how that will work.
Anonymous wrote: "@John, you wrote: '"Least of these commandments" is being used to show that no matter which ones you consider "least", your standing in the Kingdom will depend upon sincerely trying to keep them and teaching others likewise.'
"Not according to Matthew 5, It says that those who break the least of these commandments and teach men to break them, will be least in the kingdom."
And, who gets to define "least"? If you break even what you consider the least (because there really is no such thing), then you will be least.
It doesn't mean you cannot be forgiven, either. I don't necessarily hold that it means you won't be in the Kingdom, because all of us fail to keep the commandments perfectly.
"My Grandmother and Grandfather probably rested on Sunday as good as or better than any Sabbath keeper.
"So, is their faith in Christ subordinate to their keeping the Sabbath on the right day? Or is it the heart that we're all judged on?"
It is dependent upon whether or not they were called in this age.
"But who better to show them how? Or, did you mean "all" as in "everyone"? In that case, maybe."
I meant all as in everyone. After the millennium, after the Great White Throne Judgement.
Too many people when thinking of God's Kingdom they only think of the millennium, they for some reason forget Eternity afterwards.
As far as how time will be utilized, I sure have no clue, but I can guess. God will probably do it all again. Create another world with more physical people, and yes, another Sabbath.
Too many times in these discussions about the law, we forget the purpose of the law, and that purpose is to build loving relationships with one another.
Instead of using the law to build such relationships, we use the law to beat one another over the head.
The law became an idol to the Jews, and I believe it has become an idol to way too many within the cog.
Rather than allowing each individual to conclude how to apply God's law in our lives, we try to force our views of the law on others.
God's desire isn't to force obedience, God wants us to want to obey.
We need to learn to use the law to measure ourselves and quit trying to measure our brother instead. But alas, it's much easier to measure our brother.
Anonymous wrote: "The Sabbath was made for man. For our benefit. For our relationship with God and our fellow man.
"So the point is, while the Sabbath is indeed important, relationships are much more important."
And yet, part of that relationship requires keeping the Sabbath. Interesting how that works, huh?
Our relationship with the Creator is the most important relationship, in fact. If we must choose between relationship with God and our mate, we'd better choose God. If we must choose between relationship with God and our children, we'd better choose God. The Sabbath should be a time to strengthen all those relationships, but if our mate chooses not to go to worship God, then the choice really should be obvious.
Do you understand yet?
@ John, just as you asked "And, who gets to define "least" 🙂 I have to ask, "And, who gets to decide who is "called".
🙂 The answer is obvious to both questions, God/Christ defines and decides, not us.
So, if someone doesn't keep the Sabbath perfectly or even on the right day, God determines their heart, not us.
If someone claims to have accepted Christ, yet still keeps xmas or Easter, God judges their heart, not us.
If someone breaks the "least" of the commandments and teaches others to break them, God judges their heart, not us.
Now I think we've gotten down to the whole point of this discussion. It's not our place to determine if someone is a Christian or not, our place is to humbly get on our knees and pray that God mercifully judges our heart.
John wrote: "Do you understand yet?"
Anonymous wrote: "Now I think we've gotten down to the whole point of this discussion. It's not our place to determine if someone is a Christian or not, our place is to humbly get on our knees and pray that God mercifully judges our heart."
Yes, He does, and He makes the criteria quite clear for it. However, Jesus also said we would know them by their fruits. Why? So we can sit in judgment of them? Actually, no.
The only difference between a real Christian now and a real Christian that comes up in the 2nd resurrection is the timing. It should be considered an honor and a privilege to be called in this present age because there is nothing in us that deserves such special treatment.
Anonymous wrote: "Interesting!"
Why? It was a serious question. It is ludicrous to consider anything more important than our relationship with God. If our jobs, our spouses or even our children take precedence over that, then we have created idols in our hearts.
"Yes, He does, and He makes the criteria quite clear for it. However, Jesus also said we would know them by their fruits. Why? So we can sit in judgment of them? Actually, no."
Judge them by their fruit. Uh, oh, the fruit of the cog is rotten!
That may not be your judgement but it certainly is mine.
Oh, and just what are the fruits of the Spirit?
And just to clarify the point. I believe 100% in law keeping, but is law keeping one of the fruits of the Spirit?
So, if we're to know them by their fruits, is it the fruits of law keeping that we know them, or fruits of the Spirit that we know them?
@Anonymous: The Spirit leads one into the truth, so it is an inseparable part of the equation (Jn 16:13). It is through the Spirit that the Law is written on our hearts and minds (Heb 10:15-17; Jn 15:26-27).
That's right John, so instead of judging/determinging that a protestant isn't a Christian because he or she isn't keeping the Sabbath at this time, let's give the Spirit the time it needs to "lead" these people.
It's a process, and only God knows his timeline in bringing people into all truth.
As for me, if someone claims to be a Christian, I'll treat him as such and let God sort the rest out.
Anonymous wrote: "As for me, if someone claims to be a Christian, I'll treat him as such and let God sort the rest out."
I'm curious now. Are you saying that Christians should be treated differently than non-Christians?
Seems to me that people should be treated as potential members of the God family, whether we believe them to be Christian or not.
At the end of the day, though, even if someone is not now a Christian, that does not mean God isn't working with them, calling them, etc.
So, what was your point again?
Oh, I get it! Because I don't believe Protestants are true Christians. So what?
I don't believe Buddhists have the truth either. I don't believe atheists are currently saved. However, God can and does change people, so the one who is not saved today may be tomorrow. Saul/Paul certainly was literally turned around overnight, wasn't he?
God is a God of change. Otherwise, this is an exercise in futility. And, even if they aren't called in this age, so what? The Bible says all will be resurrected to know the truth.
Again, what was your point?
My point? Obviously you have made yourself out to be a judge of who is a Christian and who is not.
1Cr 10:12 Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.
Anonymous said; "Not according to Matthew 5, It says that those who break the least of these commandments and teach men to break them, will be least in the kingdom."
Perhaps there is a bit of misunderstanding the context–as I noticed you did not pick up on
Matt 5:20 "For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven."(NKJ)
To me that means that you will not even be there.Is it possible that the meaning Of "least" is because not keeping or teaching the Law (if decieved) you will come up in the second resurrection–coming into the kingdom last–therefore being least—not a first fruit nor one who is possibly made Spirit from righteous living during the 1000 years?
The pharisee did not get the keeping of the Law in the spirit amd intent but they understood that one had to keep the Law of God to be righteous. a true Christian (Follower of the examples of Christ) has to exceed that-or not be in the kingdom period. some ministers have explained that this means "least by comparison"—however I have a little difficulty buying that explanation. God is not a repector of persons and does not compare ones lukewarm approach to that of zeal and offer a lesser Spiritual plane to function in, that I can tell anyway.
I think you need to learn what Jesus meant when He said, "Judge righteous judgment."
If you cannot (or more likely will not) discern the truth, then how will you ever teach others?
Furthermore, it is always the "love" types that hypocritically bring up judgment. If you love someone who is heading towards a cliff, will you not say something? If you love someone who is about to drink poison, will you just stand by and let him/her drink it? So, why do you advocate not saying something about it when they are about to die in their sins?
Obviously, I'm not talking about beating them over the head with it, either.
Do you not see wrong when a murder is reported on TV? Do you not see the sin when someone holds up a bank? Why do you judge them?
The Bible tells me what a Christian looks like. If you don't like the picture, then don't complain to me about it. Talk to God, because He wrote the book.
Anony Jon wrote: "Is it possible that the meaning Of 'least' is because not keeping or teaching the Law (if decieved) you will come up in the second resurrection–coming into the kingdom last–therefore being least—not a first fruit nor one who is possibly made Spirit from righteous living during the 1000 years?"
I don't see any reason to rule that out. If someone is truly deceived, would God really throw them into the Lake of Fire? I don't think so.
To my mind, God is patient, kind and will exhaust all avenues before giving up on someone (think of the lost sheep). We all know that only a few are chosen now.
Now if they weren't deceived and rejected God outright, then there's a real problem. The Beast and False Prophet of Revelation are thrown directly into the Lake of Fire, so it is obvious to me that they really knew the truth of what they are (will be) doing.
What an appalling conversation. A Sabbath keeper shares his experience of being transformed by Jesus Christ while attending with a protestant church after leaving an unhealthy Sabbath-keeping church situation. Note he has earlier said that he continued to keep the Sabbath. Instead of rejoicing that he has been able to overcome, he gets nitpicked over his KNOWLEDGE.
Rightly Jesus Christ said, "By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." (John 13:35)
This is the true disgrace of the state of the COGs in the last 15 years. Sure there might be some love within congregations, but there is an overall picture of strife. A multitude of splits exist not because of doctrine but because of personalities that can't get along, and people wanting to be "greatest". (I recognise there are doctrinal differences between groups, but in many cases they are pathetic excuses for not walking together.)
I am disgusted by the current so-called "crisis" in UCG because it has reflected exactly this problem again. From what I have seen, both sides declare their self-righteousness while not manifesting the love of which Jesus Christ spoke. This is not confined to leadership, either.
Anonymous "8:09", I think I understand where you are coming from. It was attending an evangelical Christian group at University after the WCG split that actually enabled me to understand the law, grace and salvation properly. That was what led me to baptism. I personally continued attending Sabbath services and there I heard endlessly recited the reasons why we were right to leave "our former association" and continue observing the Sabbath. There I heard very little (but not nothing) about Jesus Christ living in us.
Anonymous "8:09", I was excited by what I read about your situation. I wish you the very best for your continued walk in Christ.
I hope and pray that one day soon the memberships of the COGs will love one another like Christ has loved us.
"I'm curious now. Are you saying that Christians should be treated differently than non-Christians?"
Gal 6:10 As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all [men], especially unto them who are of the household of faith.
@shortfriction: 2Co 6:14-15 says:
" 14Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
" 15And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?"
@Anonymous: Really? Are you sure about that? Can we shake their hands? Are we allowed to talk to them? Are they inferior?
Or, is it a matter of priority?
"For there is no respect of persons with God." ~ Ro 2:11
When it comes to the Church, they are family. It is where our fellowship should be. We need to worship together.
However, in all else, unbelievers are still human beings. Outside of worship and marriage (both serious commitments), they should be respected and treated like beings made in the image of God.
It seems some of you may have it backwards.
Anonymous 1:06 PM and Shortfriction – Thank you both. I'm glad someone understands me (8:09 AM). Your posts are encouraging to me and appreciated.
@John: BTW, I haven't bought into the prosperity gospel. The Lord knows the pains and tremendous trials I've gone through over the years – almost lost our daughter twice, not to mention other things. Although I don't enjoy these trials and wished they would leave, I trust these trials refine and draw me closer to Jesus.
Andrew writes: "If you accept that premise, if you accept Christ, then you have to accept the Law."
I didn't say I don't accept the law. I do and have. I'm not antinomian.
I am reminded that the works of the flesh are contentions, disputes, and selfish ambitions and that Paul urged Titus to avoid contentions and strivings about the law – they're useless.
I do not want my lifestyle or the lifestyle of others here to be a lifestyle of arguing. I wish you all a blessed and happy Sabbath as you rejoice and celebrate our Savior.
Anonymous 8:09 AM
Firstly John, as you well know you are quoting a passage about marriage. Secondly, you need to define "unbeliever". The Pharisees were quick to judge who they thought worthy to fellowship with, and condemned Jesus Christ for his behaviour in that regard.
As for having it backwards, tell me this: "When it comes to the Church, they are family. It is where our fellowship should be. We need to worship together." Who is "we"; who is "the Church"? Why have the "family" of UCG been falling apart? Why do people from one group, like LCG's Bob Thiel, RCG's David Pack, etc., keep criticising the doctrine of other groups – completely failing to fellowship in rejoicing for all we hold in common?
Why did those who broke away from UCG form their own group, not join LCG – which for all the issues with UCG government highlighted in the lead-up to the breakaway would seem a perfect fit?
For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. Revelation 3:17 – this is the scripture that comes to my mind when I hear COGs crow about the special knowledge they have that the rest of Christianity "rejects".
Realise, too, that I am speaking from the position of one who believes that the law, Sabbath and Holy Days are still to be observed. I am speaking from the position of someone who does currently exclusively fellowship in UCG. I'm not proposing that we go join or attend protestant churches – but we do need to be wary of attitudes of superiority and be aware that there is no scripture that precludes the possibility that God has called-out believers in non-Sabbath-keeping Christian groups. (On the other hand, there is scripture that precludes the possibility of called-out believers existing in non-Christian groups.) God worked with the earlier anonymous poster while he was attending with a protestant group. Shall we risk blaspheming the Holy Spirit by denying that?
I beg your pardon, I reread the 2 Corinthians 6 passage and it is not referring to marriage specifically at all. Just goes to show what one can forget.
@ John, are you serious? Are you that unable or unwilling to comprehend?
Where did I say that we weren't to shake hands with unbelievers, or talk to them, or that they are not human beings.
I said that if someone claims to be a Christian, I treat them as a Christian, then you start all this rigmarole.
John, you have shown yourself to be judgmental, all the while justifying yourself by saying, "well we're to use righteous judgement".
Are you unable to see that "righteous judgement" is a matter of perspective.
There are those who believe we use the wrong calendar by using the Jewish calendar. Many of them claim that we are sinners because of this.
I know one man that believes we're out of covenant with God if we don't keep Passover at the time of his pet theory.
They all think they are using "righteous judgement", but what they are really being is judgmental.
Just who do you think you are judging the heart of a protestant Christian? Judge their deeds, judge their actions, but to claim they aren't Christian is well beyond your ability.
Sure it's a sin not to keep the Sabbath or to keep Christmas, but as you asked in a previous post, is there a ranking of sin.
We are all sinners. You have no idea if these Christians have gone to Christ on their knees and asked him to forgive all their sins, even the ones they are unaware of.
You have no idea if the Spirit is working in them to make them aware of such sins. Do you think God should do this overnight?
You're the one who has tried to obfuscate this discussion by bringing unbelievers / Buddhists into it.
I'm not talking of them. I'm talking of those who claim to be Christian.
I'm unable to judge their heart, so I know full well that you're unable.
So why don't you spend your time not thinking of yourself higher than any of them (though you did add the disclaimer that it wasn't anything you did to make you higher than them), ah yes, the humble song "We Are God's People, the chosen of the world"
Yep, we are, but the arrogance in that song is appalling.
So why don't you spend your time not thinking of yourself higher than any of them but go among them and do as Paul did with the gentiles, bring them into obedience.
If anyone has any of this backwards it is you, and your stubborn pride won't allow you to see your arrogance.
Ron S. gave an excellent testimonial and you all poopood what he had to say.
John, you have done nothing here but try to justify yourself and your superior judgmental attitude over Protestant Christians.
You haven't forgotten much from WCG have you?
Maybe you need to read Ron darts article again, for it was meant for people like you.
"Oh those Radical Anti Pagans"
You've got your foundation all mixed up. You think you're building on Christ, but you're actually building on the law.
The proper order should be Christ then the law, not the law then Christ.
I'm sure you'll deny that you're doing this, and I'm sure you'll have some on here who are in the same boat as yourself who will come on and agree with you, but the fact remains whether you see it or not.
You have placed the law above relationships, when in fact the law is simply a tool we use to build relationships.
Wake up brother!
Anonymous wrote: "John, are you serious? Are you that unable or unwilling to comprehend?"
No, but you keep misrepresenting my stance. Not true Christians = nonbelievers = pagans. Sorry, but that is just the way it is.
I have tried over and over in various ways that I am not judging their heart, either. I have showed you over and over again that it isn't about superiority. But, your attitude against the Law has so colored your perceptions that I fear for you.
@ John, show me one quote where I'm against the law.
Quit with your obfuscation.
Aren't you the Anonymous who stated that the fulfillment of the Law by Jesus was like filling a form, and then went on stating something almost word for word from Greg Laurie?
Anonymous wrote: "Tell me, who's better off someone who keeps the 7th day Sabbath, although imperfectly, or one who being misinformed, rests on Sunday thinking it's the Sabbath?"
How else should I take this statement? The Sabbath isn't just part of the Law, it is part of the Ten Commandments, which is the core of the Law.
Look, there are all sorts of people who believe all sorts of things. Why? Because they are deceived (I think you know where that memory verse is).
Did they do something to deserve to be deceived? No, not that I can see. Does any Christian do anything to deserve to be called? No, not that I can see. God calls whom He will for whatever reason He decides.
The simple fact of the matter is that you can keep the Law in the letter, like the Pharisees did and still not make it. The simple fact of the matter is that you can "love, love, love" and still not make it. Most likely if you fall into either ditch, you were never called to begin with.
Jesus said few are chosen. If merely attempting to keep the Law doesn't qualify you, and if merely trying to establish a relationship with God on your own doesn't qualify you, then it should become obvious why only a few are chosen.
You need both. Jesus said the greatest commandment was to love God with your entirety: all thy heart (emotionally), and with all thy soul (physically in your daily life), and with all thy mind (logically, rationally, part of your decisions), and with all thy strength (physical plus will). In order to fulfill that Law, you must keep the Law. One sin means something is not "all".
That's also why we cannot do it on our own. Yet, we have to know what to do, right? Christians don't keep the Law just so they can go around beating their chest saying, "Look at me!" No, that violates the Law. We must be keeping the Law in order to please God. We owe it to God, even.
"Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man." ~ Ecc 12:13.
Notice it is our "duty". Paul called us being living sacrifices a "reasonable service". Again, we see entirety.
How do we know a real Christian? We see it in their visible actions and what they produce.
And, God does give pointers. Why? So we can feel superior? I think not. However, we can know that we must follow a different path. If someone appears sincere, we can take someone to the side and say, "You know, that might not be the way God sees it." Wouldn't you want someone to do so to you if you are going off track?
The Sabbath is often touted as such a marker. While I believe it is very, very significant, I would suggest it is not the only marker. Love towards one another is another marker. Yet, what of love towards a neighbor? Isn't that important?
Another marker shows the entirety (word for the day, I guess) of it all though:
"And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ." ~ Rev 12:17
Can you witness of Jesus and not keep the commandments? Can you be a true witness of Jesus and not do as He says? I think not.
"But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." ~ Mt 6:33
Yes, seek the Kingdom, seek that relationship, seek to become a son/daughter of God, but don't forget about righteousness.
That's what we should be living, and that's what we should be telling others.
Paul also says:
Rom 6:14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.
If you are judging whether someone is a Christian or not based upon his law keeping, then you don't understand what Paul is saying in these verses.
What else did Paul say:
Eph 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God:
9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
I'll get to the next verse soon so listen to what I have to say here first.
We are saved by grace, not by works. It should not be works that we judge whether one is a Christian or not. Sure, I can judge whether I agree with their works or not, and no, I don't agree with their Sunday keeping, or with their xmas keeping.
But since it is grace that we are all saved by, I can look at them as brothers in Christ, and yes, it's up to me, as I come into contact with them in building relationships, to teach them the next verse.
Eph 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
It is up to me and you to go to them, and in a loving way, acknowledging that they are Christians saved by grace, we teach them to do good works, such as Sabbath keeping, Holy Day keeping, etc.
I've never said we should just consider them Christian and then do nothing as your rigmarole
and confiscation of the subject has been trying to say.
I've never said any of that. In fact if you'll go back and read I have continually said that we should be doing as Paul did to the gentiles, teach them to be obedient.
Not because their salvation depends on their obedience, but because we were created to be obedient.
Faith in Christ should always come first, obedience is secondary. The old WCG had that backward, one had to show obedience before the WCG would ever baptize someone.
Good thing Phillip didn't require that of the Ethiopian eunuch.
I've never said that we shouldn't emphasize the law, but we should emphasize it at the proper time, after the true foundation is laid.
How do we build on the foundation of Christ if we judge that one is not a Christian and not worthy of our fellowship if he doesn't perfectly keep the law?
I remember a fella who once said that the law is good if one uses it lawfully.
Maybe too many have been taught the wrong way to use it lawfully. The law is to be used to recognize that we are all sinners. Nothing more, nothing less.
When we start to use it to judge whether someone is good enough or not to call them a brother then we are using the law unlawfully.
We've posted about being deceived, truth, law, grace, etc. Long conversations and posts. It's a bit discouraging at times due to the bickering. If you want to see a great presentation how much the world has been deceived, here's an encouraging site if you have the time to view it. It focuses on God's truth.
http://www.thetruthproject.org If you like James Dobson or Glenn Beck, you'll love this.
Be sure to click "Watch the trailer" on the home page of the Truth Project, right under the large lettered logo. The 4 minute trailer is the best in my opinion.
Del Tackett also has a good post which you can access by clicking on "Del's blog", entry Jan 3rd, 2011.
If you ever have the chance to participate in the small group Bible study of The Truth Project, you'll never regret it – whether you're a Sabbath keeper or not.
It is amazing how much all of us (especially us in the Body of Christ) are deceived by our 3 enemies: the world, the flesh and the devil. It has permeated (sp?) every aspect of our lives. He has a great presentation on "The American Experiment" in the DVD series.
Anonymous wrote: "Nope, I'm not that anonymous. I've stated several times on here that the meaning of fulfilling the law meant that Jesus paid/fulfilled the penalty (death) that we incurred, and that after paying that penalty we are not now free to disobey the law."
Then, first off, I apologize for confusing you with the other anonymous poster. The timing was such that it seemed like it was from the same person. You can forget what I said about the prosperity gospel too.
"Is your or my heart better than theirs?"
"Better" in the sense that it is "less diseased" because of the work of the Holy Spirit. However, I'm under no illusions that I am "cured".
"If you keep the Sabbath based upon the fourth commandment and all the laws from the old covenant, then you have a problem.
"Are you under the old covenant?"
No, I am under the New. That means I keep the Law for different reasons. It means the Law is being written on my heart and mind.
It does not mean the Law has been done away. It does not mean I can become a Christian and refuse to worship on the Sabbath. It does not mean I can live in ignorance of the Law, either.
It seems you think I feel I'm superior because I am called now. That just isn't the case. We will all be called eventually. God decides the timing.
Point blank, if you don't keep the Sabbath, you are not a true Christian. Nothing you say can inviolate the Scriptures that clearly say so.
"Point blank, if you don't keep the Sabbath, you are not a true Christian. Nothing you say can inviolate the Scriptures that clearly say so."
With this last comment/verse, I'm bowing out of this discussion. It ran its course a long time ago.
Mat 7:2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.
Anonymous 11:29 & 11:30 AM has his act together and his doctrine straight. More of this should be preached in United because there are too many who think their salvation is based on their works and obedience.
Interesting point Mr. Pinnelli is making in his Louisville sermon today. It is a lesson from the 7th Day Adventist's that the COG's had with 7th Day Adventists in 1995. Adventists complimented HWA. COG's asked about Adventist's growth of 3 congregations / day!! Adventists did it this way (3 steps):
1) Build hospitals (healing)
Missed #3. Pinnelli used that to illustrate Jesus and 7th Day Adventists developed an environment ready for teaching.
Evangelical Missionaries have been doing this for years! It's great to see COG's looking at this now! God is working to grow you guys it looks like.
The way the Church (God's invisible church) grows is through meeting people at their point of need! After you feed, heal, help, *then* they will listen. That's why COG's don't grow (or very little). They don't currently meet people's needs, but Pinnelli is RIGHT ON TARGET!
This is just a suggestion; perhaps you should require any anonymous to at least distinguish themselves with and identifier, to cut down on confusion. I have seen one other besides myself, which was anony Jane–I think–maybe there has been more.
Add to my list that makes me sad: People in the Church of God who will justify breaking the Law and people sinning.
@Anonymous 3:47: Yes, I've been saying we need to do things like this for years now (although not in his exact words).
It was 1) Build hospitals, 2) Build Schools, and 3) Build churches. We need to reach them physically, mentally and spiritually.
Definite good stuff.
Just for what it's worth, here's an answer to questions about my original post.
The healthy Protestant church I attend does not keep the seveth-day Sabbath or Holy Days – yet. I still do, having been there for four years now. I hsve no need or desire to change my practices and t am open about them with those I attend with, though not "in their face." I have had nothing but positive responses about my beliefs.
I count them as fellow brethren and see the fruit of the Spirit in many of their lives. I know of many whose lives have been transformed, who seek to follow God's ways the best that they know and who exhibit love for others. There is peace there, unlike what we have seen in our CoG tradition. It is spiritually healthier than any CoG group I know of, though they may lack knowledge in certain areas.
The church I attend is a large and well-known church that is highly regarded as a model for others. I have been shown favor there and have some small degree of inlluence and responsibility. I have no doubt of any kind that God led us to this church for a purpose. I do wonder whether some from the CoG background have been seeded into other bodies for a reason – perhaps a cross-transference of knowledge or practices.
It is clear that the CoG is not only _not_ relevant in the world, it too often serves as a poor example of Christian behavior to others. People can't hear what we say we believe, because our actions speak louder than our words. We exude strife, unrighteous judgment and a painfully obvious lack of good works.
I suspect that the CoG will survive, but only as some footnote, not unlike other small sects that remain today, years after they once had influence. My personal speculation is that whatever unique truths the CoG have will be carried into the future by others not from this background.
@Ron S: I suspect you are partly right at least.
You wrote: "It is clear that the CoG is not only _not_ relevant in the world, it too often serves as a poor example of Christian behavior to others. People can't hear what we say we believe, because our actions speak louder than our words. We exude strife, unrighteous judgment and a painfully obvious lack of good works."
The truth does indeed hurt, but if we don't acknowledge it, we will never move forward.
You also wrote: "I suspect that the CoG will survive, but only as some footnote, not unlike other small sects that remain today, years after they once had influence. My personal speculation is that whatever unique truths the CoG have will be carried into the future by others not from this background."
I think you should reconsider and look at both paragraphs you wrote. "Why?" you may ask. For several reasons, but one that comes to mind first to me is that the reason for all of the turmoil, putting aside the influence of Satan, is our own carnality. We often try to do a work based upon our own power. It's doomed to failure. Any other group you can imagine will also fail if they try to do so in their own power.
And, perhaps, that is the point. God said no flesh should glory in His sight, after all. When we allow Him to do the work, it will get done. When we get in the way, it will crumble.
"And I heard the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand unto heaven, and sware by him that liveth for ever that it shall be for a time, times, and an half; and when he shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished." ~ Da 12:7
Some thought that 1995 was that point at that time. I think the 1990s was only the beginning of that.
Ron S. wrote:
"My personal speculation is that whatever unique truths the CoG have will be carried into the future by others not from this background."
I'm in full agreement with you here Ron, and here's just such an example. This guy has recently learned a lot of truth and he is out there preaching/teaching the gospel. Not just sitting at church every Sabbath and cutting a check to "headquarters" every week so they can do "the work".
His personal web site is: passionfortruth.com
Oh, and my purpose here hasn't been to "bicker" with John. If it became such in anyones mind, I must ask, what does one expect one to do if he sees a brother in error?
I believe John is in error and he believes I'm in error.
I personally don't believe in just sitting back and not saying anything just to maintain a sense of peace, and I really don't think the bible advocates that either.
signed: anonymous Jan. 7 9:37am, Jan. 7 9:49am, jan. 7 1:06pm, Jan. 7 1:13pm, Jan. 7 1:39pm, Jan. 7 1:50pm, Jan. 7 2:00pm, Jan. 7 2:14pm, Jan. 7 2:16pm, Jan. 7 2:31pm, Jan. 7 2:42, Jan 7 3:19pm, Jan. 7 3:44pm, Jan 7 6:51pm, Jan. 8 8:35am, Jan. 8 8:50am, Jan. 8 11:29am, Jan. 8 11:30am, and finally Jan. 8 12:15pm
""And I heard the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand unto heaven, and sware by him that liveth for ever that it shall be for a time, times, and an half; and when he shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished." ~ Da 12:7
Some thought that 1995 was that point at that time. I think the 1990s was only the beginning of that."
I'd buy that if the WCG would have been more than just a speck in the world.
There are more than a million Sabbath keepers in China and not because of HWA or WCG.
Now, can it be seriously assumed that one small corporate organization scattering is the fulfillment of this verse?
I don't think so.
Me thinks we have an Elisha complex.
God has more than seven thousand that have not bowed the knee
"Add to my list that makes me sad: People in the Church of God who will justify breaking the Law and people sinning."
John, for some reason you are continuously missing the point.
I've not been justifying breaking the law or sinning. If you think I have been you should reread what I've written.
What I have been doing is advocating mercy.
John, no disrespect here, but when I read over our postings on this subject, I can't help but think of the adulteress that the scribes and Pharisees brought to Jesus in John 8:3-11.
3 Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery. And when they had set her in the midst,
4 they said to Him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act.
5 Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?”
6 This they said, testing Him, that they might have something of which to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger, as though He did not hear.
7 So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.”
8 And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground.
9 Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.
10 When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?”
11 She said, “No one, Lord.”
And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”
John, I do apologize here, I don't intend to sound mean, but in our discussion, it seems to me that you would be on the side of the scribes and Pharisees.
No, I'm not judging your heart. I'm just judging what you've written.
"Point blank, if you don't keep the Sabbath, you are not a true Christian."
Was Jesus in this account justifying sin? No he wasn't. He was showing mercy.
Since we don;t know where anyone that names the name of Jesus is in his or her walk. We have no business saying who is or who isn't a Christian.
No matter what we see them doing or not doing in the flesh.
You know full well that I haven't been advocating Sabbath breaking. But what I have been advocating is going to people that claim to be Christian, treat them as such, and show them more fully how to obey God.
This is showing mercy, not justifying sin.
Ron? wrote: "Now, can it be seriously assumed that one small corporate organization scattering is the fulfillment of this verse?"
Yes, to a large degree.
I will remind you that I have written many times that the true Church of God is not tied to one physical organization. I'm sure you were aware of that when you wrote that (note, I realize you aren't just addressing me as well, but you did quote me). I'm also sure you are well aware that I have written that you don't have to belong to a physical organization that came from WCG, either.
You are probably well aware that I have stated on numerous occasions that some SDAs keep the holy days, don't eat pork, etc.
Do you know who they quote when asked about this? EG White? No. HWA, GTA and other COG authors from biblestudy.org and bibletools.org.
So, yes, there have been Sabbath keepers in China (I'm not sure of "a million", but I assume you have a source to back that up). However, I'm not going to stick my head in the sand and say HWA didn't do a pretty significant work in the 20th century, either.
Who do you think HWA learned/borrowed these "truths" from?
John, with all due respect, you come across as someone wanting to teach but not willing to learn.
I'm sorry but that's how I read your posts. I could be wrong, but that's how you come across to me.
Why do I say this? Because you always seem to have to offer an answer/opposing point of view, rather than saying, "ok, I'll consider your point, but at this time this is how I see things."
Nope, I'm not Ron, and yes, there are millions of Sabbath keepers in the True Jesus Church. As a whole they don't keep the Holy Days but I'll bet at least some do.
Anonymous wrote: "Was Jesus in this account justifying sin? No he wasn't. He was showing mercy."
Yes, and He did it using the Law to boot. The Pharisees couldn't trap Him because what He did was right according to the Law. Study it, please.
Furthermore, you continue to confuse judgment and condemnation. Are you allowing this postmodern world to affect your thinking? I hope not.
If we don't know the goal, we will not be working towards it. Jesus said to seek first what? The Kingdom of God and what? Righteousness!
If we are incapable of judging what sin is and what sin is not, how will we ourselves ever achieve righteousness? How will we know what it looks like? How will others ever know what righteousness is? How can we show them? How can we sincerely, as Jesus in your example did, tell someone, "Go and sin no more"?
@Anonymous 11:19: Frankly, what you've posted does not negate what I said. If you want to believe HWA did nothing at all to influence the Sabbatarian world, go right ahead. However, you are mistaken.
@John wrote: "If we are incapable of judging what sin is and what sin is not, how will we ourselves ever achieve righteousness?"
From the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. It's quotes like this that just mark out the works our evil and adulterous hearts want to do for God in order to earn our standing with Him. And I make these kinds of statements, too. I'm not judging whether you're a Christian or not John. But this comment confuses the issue. Maybe I misunderstood it.
Righteousness is imputed by grace, right? My righteousness is achieved by Jesus Christ. Why? Because I believe it! Abraham believed God and it was accounted (credited, imputed) to him for righteousness. Do I have works of righteousness and obedience? Yes, Abraham did, too, but they do not establish my standing with Jesus Christ.
Hear me carefully. My P-O-S-I-T-I-O-N-A-L standing with God has forever been accomplished by His amazing grace in Jesus Christ. It's like my children. They can obey, they can rebel, they can sin, but their positional standing as a child of my family will never change the fact that they are mine forever (born of incorruptible seed says Peter). They can run to China, forget the Sabbath, change their name, say they are never mine. Does that change the fact that they are positionally and legally mine? No!
So when I accept in faith the atoning work of Jesus Christ, I am His positionally. My motivation then changes from earning my salvation to loving God and obeying Him from a heart that He established in works of righteousness. That is IMPUTED righteousness by FAITH. Not righteousness we "achieve."
I want to be sure no one misunderstands, because this is salvationally important. My stupid Sabbath-Keeping never measures up. Otherwise I could boast. If I boast in the law, then I do not really see my utter failures in the law (even after salvation has arrived). Paul said that the righteousness which he had in the law, he was blameless, and for what did it account?
SALVATION!!!! Yippeee! I earned it. I'm a commandment keeper!!! Are you kidding me? It was CRAP!!! DUNG!!!
Having NOT my own righteousness which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ. That which is FROM God – imputed. Not achieved by us.
I have nothing to boast of, except knowing Christ (Phil 3:7-10). That's why Paul only boasted of his knowing Christ and the church in all his epistles. He never boasted of his Sabbath-keeping. He never boasted of his truth telling or no lack of lying. Righteousness never comes to sinners by claiming to OR keeping the law. It comes by believing in Jesus, which results in imputed righteous acts, works and obedience, but not that we can boast. Our boast is only in Jesus Christ because He causes our motivation in the first place. It is boasting in Jesus as an act of Thanksgiving for what He has done.
Finally, one other point. Our P-R-A-C-T-I-C-A-L standing with God can change. What that means is my kids can really tick me off. In one sense God is always pleased with me because of Jesus' sacrifice. That sacrifice was perfect. But they can get in trouble really fast practically and I can displease Him quickly – in the sense of disobedience, neglecting Him, sassing, etc. which will result in discipline and correction.
We can fail to please Him practically, but that does not change my position with Him as a child of God. Otherwise my continual failings would kick me out of the Kingdom.
I hope this clarifies what you probably meant to say. Obey, yes. Live righteously, yes. Thank God always and give Him the credit.
Signed, Totally different anonymous