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God commands that we in His Church "all speak the same thing."

PERSONAL  

by Herbert W. Armstrong  

page 1 Good News April 1979  

 

God commands that we in His Church “all speak the same thing.” But WHY? HOW? Christ’s apostle is accused of using “total thought control” over the Church. What is the TRUTH?  

 

THERE’S NO QUESTION about it — God commands emphatically that we in His Church do “all speak the same thing” (I Cor. 1:10).  

For many years I have striven to bring all God’s children into a unity of belief (Ps. 133:1).  

Did you ever stop to think how many things we believe and proclaim to the world that are contrary to the doctrines and teachings of all other churches calling themselves “Christian”?  

I am writing a book, titled A VOICE CRIES OUT Amid RELIGIOUS CONFUSION. This book will say that of all the religions and all the more than 250 denominations and sects in “Christianity,” NOT ONE, except the Worldwide Church of God, knows WHO and WHAT God is! NOT ONE knows what, and why, MAN IS! NOT ONE knows the TRUTH about the nation Israel — WHY God chose them, yet gave none but their prophets His Holy Spirit — where they are today. NOT ONE knows what is the TRUE GOSPEL Christ proclaimed! NOT ONE knows what happens in the hereafter — the transcendent human potential. NOT ONE knows the real function of the Church and purpose of its being.  

None but God’s true Church  

NONE but God’s one and only TRUE CHURCH has the full knowledge God has revealed to His own Church. NOT ONE knows what salvation really is!  

Doesn’t it, then, become abundantly apparent that we must all know precisely what God has prepared for those who love Him — and that we speak these amazing TRUTHS as they are — all speaking the same thing?  

Now WHY does God command that we all speak the same thing — believe the same doctrines and truths?  

And HOW has Christ provided that we all come to know, believe and speak “the same thing”? By psychological mind control? NEVER!  

But first, WHY is it important that we all believe and speak the same DOCTRINES? Continue in I Corinthians 1:10: “that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.”  

Will God’s Kingdom be divided?  

UNDERSTAND this! If we are led by the Spirit of God we shall enter into His Kingdom of God at the time of Christ’s coming and the resurrection. Will GOD’S Kingdom be divided?  

Again, we are, so to speak, in the process of being trained for entrance into the Kingdom of God, where WE SHALL JUDGE ANGELS (I Cor. 6:3).  

A kingdom or a house divided against itself cannot stand! Even two cannot walk together except they be agreed! (Amos 3:3).  

A few years ago, when I had high hopes that my son, Garner Ted, might qualify in God’s sight for very high office in God’s Kingdom, I said to him, “Ted, I often think of you and me as a father-and-son team, and how wonderful it would seem if we could be like the Father-and-Son divine Team that heads the entire universe! But to walk together as God and Christ do, we would have to remember that the Son agreed completely with the Father in all things. He said, “‘I have not spoken of myself; the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment what I should say’ ” (John 12:49).  

But as soon as I mentioned that the Divine Son was in total agreement with His Father, Ted would immediately change the subject.  

How do we come to know WHO and WHAT God is, and the other truths mentioned above that are not known by any other church or religion? Jesus Christ revealed them to His apostle, who taught these precious truths to you! And how precious they are!  

A corollary to I Corinthians 1:10 is Romans 16:17-18: “Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.”  

“Avoid them” means just that. Walk away from them. Do not invite them into your home. “If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed” (II John 10).  

Completely AVOIDING those ex-communicated who hold and speak a different doctrine is IMPORTANT with God. To the Thessalonians God made this a command: “Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received from us [that is, from Christ’s true apostles] . . . And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him” (II Thess. 3:6, 14).  

This is SO IMPORTANT to GOD that He had the apostle John, in the 90s, A.D., write, as quoted above, “If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine” (as received through Christ’s apostles), “receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed” (II John 10).  

My own son, whom I love, does NOT speak this same thing CHRIST put into GOD’S CHURCH.  

WHY DOES GOD COMMAND US TO ACTUALLY SHUN A DISFELLOWSHIPPED MEMBER? WHY DOES GOD WANT US — COMMAND US! — to mark and avoid those who come with a different doctrine? Because they created DIVISION among God’s people! “And” (Rom. 16:18) “by good words and fair speeches” they DECEIVE those who listen — they claim to serve God — but they DO NOT AGREE with God.  

One of my son’s “fair speeches” intended to deceive and draw away members tries to turn the very command of God, that we must all speak the same thing, into an accusation that I am using MIND CONTROL over our members.  

So he sends out a “fair speech” in writing, attempting to associate God’s Church with the Jim Jones Guyana cult. He says: “For too many years” (when he was in God’s Church) “I tried with all my being to encourage our brethren to think for themselves.” In other words, to QUESTION and doubt the validity of the doctrines CHRIST had put in the Church. He continues, “The demoniac preacher Jim Jones used extreme forms of total dictatorial control over his followers.” Then he spoke of “total thought control” — inferring that now, all of a sudden, I am another “Jim Jones” and exercising “total thought control” over you members.  

He says that when I say, with I Corinthians 1:10, that we “all speak the same thing,” I am using mind control over you, and he sends out letters and booklets EMPHASIZING that HE DOES NOT AGREE WITH OR PREACH THE SAME THING as his father. Thus he not only breaks God’s Fifth Commandment by dishonoring his father, but he seeks to misrepresent and pull over a following for himself (Acts 20:30).  

But, LET’S FACE IT!  

God does command that we ,all “speak the same thing” (I Cor. 1:10). But now we need to ask HOW that can be done. HOW, without mind control, has God provided that we may all come to speak the same thing?  

TRUE doctrines were revealed  

After God inspired Paul to command that we must all speak the same doctrines, HOW does Paul say we all come to that sameness of doctrine and belief?  

First, he shows WHY all did not speak the same teachings. He said some looked to Peter, some to Cephas, some to Apollos, some to Paul. In other words, they were all looking to MEN — and not all to the same man.  

Coming to chapter 2, Paul says he did not come to them with clever and enticing words. Then he said the TRUE DOCTRINES were REVEALED, and that the natural carnal mind could not understand. Paul had the truth because, 1) he had really repented when God struck him down temporarily blind and spoke to him. Then later, 2) he explained he had been with and had seen Christ. His teaching came directly from Jesus Christ. So had Peter’s!  

But Paul shows, I Corinthians 2:7-14, that NO ONE can come into the truth with a natural carnal mind. It requires the receiving of the Holy Spirit of God. As God said through Paul another time, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 2:5).  

No one will ever come to understand the TRUTH except by receiving the Holy Spirit. But EVEN SO, all these Corinthians were supposed to have received the Holy Spirit— YET THEY BELIEVED DIFFERENT THINGS, because they followed different men!  

God put His TRUE DOCTRINES into His Church through His apostles BY THEIR WRITINGS. Jesus is the Word of God in PERSON! The Bible is the Word of God IN PRINT!  

Today, Christ has put the TRUE DOCTRINES into God’s Church through the apostle whom HE chose – not elected by men!  

How doctrines are revealed  

In our case, the 20th-century “time of the end,” how did God put His doctrines, beliefs and teachings into the Church?  

Answer: By His chosen apostle, just as all doctrines, teachings and practices were put into the Church in A.D. 31 by Christ and the apostles — who, with the prophets, form the FOUNDATION of the Church.  

Jesus specially prepared me for this purpose, just as He specially prepared the apostles of the first century. He brought me to see that what I had been taught in a Protestant church was false — the opposite of the Bible. Jesus Christ is the Word of God IN PERSON. The Bible is the Word of God IN WRITING.  

The living Christ brought me to two severe challenges, which forced me to see I had been wrong. He swept my mind clean of all previous beliefs and doctrines and taught me His doctrines and beliefs.  

Still, as was Peter and Paul — and Moses, Elijah, David and Daniel — I am human and could make a mistake.  

BUT, if you have proved that this is, indeed, God’s true Church for this present time, then you MUST BELIEVE that if and when I make a mistake, the LIVING CHRIST will correct me! Indeed HE HAS DONE so!  

Now to the very CRUX of the question of HOW we must all come to believe and speak the SAME THING!  

Christ put His doctrines in God’s Church in A.D. 31 through the apostles HE had chosen and taught. In our time, now, the same living Christ called, prepared and chose me as His servant to put His doctrines into God’s Church today!  

Christ’s responsibility to set Church right  

If I make a mistake, it is CHRIST’S responsibility to set me straight! But DO YOU BELIEVE CHRIST IS STILL ALIVE AND WILL DO IT? Or, if you think our Church doctrines are wrong on some point, do you think it is YOUR responsibility to set the Church right?  

Back in the earlier years of the present decade, some wanted a doctrinal committee to question all we believed — and in truth it gravitated into an effort to TRY by inductive reasoning and research to prove Christ’s doctrines in the Church are in error!  

Since that time, Christ has led me to see our doctrine and teaching on two subjects were indeed in error. Yet NONE of the arguments of the “intellectual liberals” were valid. God opened my eyes to see the error from an entirely different approach and viewpoint than the “scholars” had presented.  

One of these was fixing the day of Pentecost. Every known translation of the Bible, in 1927 when I first studied and set the date, translated into English, said, count the 50 days FROM a specific Sunday. One day FROM Sunday is Monday, and 50 days FROM a Sunday is a Monday. For 40 years God’s true Church observed this Festival one day late.  

Finally I found, on evidence from Jewish Old Testament teachers and from two of the translators of the Revised Standard Version, that FROM was a mistranslation. It should have been translated ON or, count beginning on a Sunday. I had not made the original mistake — the translators had. But I IMMEDIATELY changed it upon PROOF.  

The other major doctrinal change made is one that needs a deal of up-DATING! It concerned “divorce and re-marriage.” All the arguments of the “scholarly” liberals on this subject were false. Again I think it fair to say the real error was due to translating.  

This caused me, and the many with whom I counsel on such questions, to pass over a verse in I Corinthians 7, without recognizing its real meaning.  

Now suppose a member thinks he or she has found an error in our doctrines. How must you proceed? IF you have found truth, we all want to know and embrace it! But how MUST you proceed? NEVER by trying to convince another member of your “finding,” lest you fall guilty of Romans 16:17-18.  

WHAT, then?  

Take it to your local minister or write to headquarters. What must a local pastor do? Send it to headquarters. If it is felt to be a valid truth, it will be brought to me personally, and the LIVING CHRIST will make it clear to my mind!  

We have covered the question of how does the living Christ put His doct rines into the Church. But the Church is made up of many members. How does each member come to understand each doctrine?  

How Christ put His Church back on track  

Now let us pull together all that has gone before.  

 We have to admit that at this time a year ago, those in God’s Church were NOT all speaking the SAME THING. And we were DIVIDED!  

 The living Christ, Head of the Church, began to move swiftly to correct this evil in our midst. The spearhead of the liberal movement was my own son, Garner Ted, because he was wielding executive vice presidential AUTHORITY — AND MORE — for his whole attitude and approach was that of making himself chief top authority. However, he was under the influence of a small group of “intellectuals” who used him.  

 Christ has been moving swiftly to set the Church doctrines back on track, through articles in The Worldwide News and The Good News.  

 The ministry and pastoral direction is fast being put back on God’s track. This of necessity means that I, personally, am going to suffer abuse and persecution and false rumors from a few ex-ministers. But I must be concerned with PLEASING God, not man.  

Now we have to ask, HOW did this division and doctrinal disagreement get its ugly head inside the Church, and HOW safeguard the Church from any further Trojan-horse invasions?  

I have said through the years, over the air and in print and before audiences, “Don’t believe me because I say it — look in your own Bible and believe what you find there!”  

But I DO NOT — or, at least, SHOULD NOT HAVE ever said that to our own brethren! But my son writes: “I tried with all my being to encourage our brethren to think for themselves.” In other words don’t believe our deep-rooted Church teachings — think out NEW, DIFFERENT beliefs for yourself!  

But GOD’S WAY is THIS! This is the way the original first-century apostles preached. They spoke the TRUTH with POWER! To the unconverted Thessalonians, the Bereans were complimented for checking up on Paul’s preaching (Acts 17:11). But none should be accepted IN THE CHURCH until that person either has come to KNOW and accept and believe Christ’s true doctrine, OR has repented so THOROUGHLY, CONQUERED BY GOD and with an attitude of a little child, so that the minister doing the baptising feels sure he or she will accept and believe fully Christ’s true doctrines in His Church.  

In other words, Christ commands that we all speak the same thing. THAT BECOMES A QUALIFICATION FOR MEMBERSHIP!  

Yet I must add one comment concerning the above paragraph. Paul shows in I Corinthians 2 that the carnal unconverted mind cannot comprehend and come to real understanding of spiritual knowledge. There is no PROMISE in the Bible that one will receive the Holy Spirit prior to baptism (though Cornelius and his house did).  

In Matthew 28:19-20, in the great commission, Jesus mentioned “teaching them to observe … [commandments],” after mentioning baptism.  

That is why I myself have baptized some prior to coming into full doctrinal teaching, but these were cases where I felt sure they were so completely surrendered to Christ that they would — as in fact they did — accept doctrinal teaching.  

I said at the ministers’ conference that I feel we have been too lax in baptising people before they were completely REPENTANT and FULLY BELIEVED Christ and what He says in the Bible.  

Once in the Church, WE MUST ALL SPEAK THE SAME THING! I have covered earlier in this “Personal” how a member should proceed who thinks he has found where the Church is in error on a doctrine, or where he thinks he has discovered “new light” the Church does not yet have. It must be cleared finally by Christ’s apostle.  

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What Is The Savior's Name?

< ![CDATA[What Is The Savior’s Name?
By Lester L. Grabbe
February 1980 The Good News Magazine
Are Hebrew terms for the Creator God – rather than English or Greek titles – the only ones accepted or recognized by God? Is some one name absolutely essential for salvation? Here’s evidence from the original texts of the Bible. Continue reading…

Is Christ Starting a Second Church? Read This to find out!

IS CHRIST STARTING A SECOND CHURCH? by Herbert W. Armstrong page 1 Good News December 4, 1978 HOW MANY CHURCHES does God have at one and the same time? The dissidents following A MAN, Garner Ted Armstrong, are now speaking out of both sides of their mouths. They KNOW that God condemns leaving God’s Church and following a MAN. So, in an effort to take members away from God’s Church, actually THREE false claims are being spread. 1) They are spreading the LIE that Garner Ted Armstrong is only doing the same thing his father did – FALSELY claiming I left the “Sardis” church to pull away their members and so start a church of my own. The long article recently appearing, on “How the Worldwide Church of God Came into Being” [GN, Nov. 6], ought to NAIL THAT LIE! a) I did not leave them, for I have never been a member of them; b) I continued working alternately with their two main divisions – Stanberry, Mo., and Salem, W.Va. I was still working with them in 1945, 12 years after the present “Philadelphia” era came into being, 1933. Note that in this he concedes the seven churches of Revelation 2 and 3 were consecutive eras, as well as seven continuous conditions in the one Church. 2) Again they admit the successive eras depicted in Revelation 2 and 3, claiming that my son is now starting the “Laodicean” era of the Church. But God does not start His Church or any era of it by one disfellowshipped for causing division, sowing the seeds of discord among brethren, and then attacking God’s Church and trying to draw away its members after him, on pretext of being a CHURCH – when those few are only following A MAN. It is NOT a Church! It has no apostle, evangelist-pastor-elder organization. It is NOT proclaiming Christ’s Gospel into all the world for a witness unto all nations! It is a MAN, with one or two working with him, merely seeking to take away members of God’s true Church. 3) Then they speak out of the other side of their mouths, I am grieved to say. This time, they say Revelation 2 and 3 do NOT portray seven SUCCESSIVE stages or eras of the one true Church. Apparently they try to explain, or twist its true meaning, by saying seven is God’s number of completeness – therefore there are now MANY churches, as Roman Catholic, Methodist, Baptist, etc. – all of which COMBINED constitute the BODY OF CHRIST. Anyone who believes that had, perhaps, better get into one of them, or follow a man who has incorporated himself to be a church. But a legal corporation does not make it GOD’S CHURCH! It might be interesting, at this point, to explain the TOTAL DIFFERENCE between what Garner Ted is now doing and what his father did in 1930. He has incorporated under civil law, under a church name as a starter. This was done to try to draw away members from the true Church to follow him. The Oregon Conference But what his father did was totally different. In Oregon a number of members of the Church of God, Seventh-Day, headquartered at Stanberry, Mo., pulled out and incorporated themselves separately as the Oregon Conference of the Church of God. They became a SEPARATE CHURCH, operating with their own tithes, directing and paying salary to their own ministers. They were ORGANIZED. They did not understand God’s form of organization – they had no apostle, but they did employ evangelists – as Robert L. Taylor, Roy Daily and myself – and later, Sven Oberg and A.J. Ray. Their form of organization was a board of trustees, with a president, vice president and secretary-treasurer. The board was in authority – not the ministers. Shortly after the Oregon Conference separately incorporated, a division occurred in the Stanberry church, and approximately half of their members followed Andrew N. Dugger into a new church based at Salem, W.Va., and named, simply, “Church of God.” In August of 1933, I renounced the salary from the Oregon Conference, but did not leave their fellowship. In fact, later that August a new church was established at Jeans schoolhouse, 12 miles west of Eugene – all but one family my own new converts, and that family not attached to either Sardis group. BUT, more – most of the Oregon Conference members began coming to Eugene to fellowship with the new Radio Church of God (now the Worldwide Church of God), and I continued, as a voluntary service, to preach Sabbath afternoons at the schoolhouse near Jefferson where they met. I never sought to pull away any of their members. They were enamored with the new Salem-based church, and a little later – (not now sure of the date) probably 1934, while the Radio Church of God was on the air and The Plain Truth being published – they abandoned their Oregon Conference and went in with Salem. Parent Church grows At, and just west of Eugene, the parent church of the Worldwide Church of God was very much alive and growing. I was leading elder, and I had appointed and ordained an assistant pastor and a deacon. We counseled seriously on the matter and decided, in early or mid-1934, not to go in with the Salem people – and we had never gone in with Stanberry. However, a little later I agreed to cooperate and work with the Salem ministers. And under this arrangement I continued as pastor of the members who formerly were the Oregon, Conference, but now were joined with Salem. BUT NEITHER I NOR ANY OF THE EUGENE MEMBERS ever joined the Salem Church – or Stanberry. I received no salary or compensation of any kind from them. On my part it was a VOLUNTARY GIVING of time and effort and cooperation, with no remuneration of any kind. Later – it was either 1945 or 1947 – probably the latter – the former Oregon Conference members had a division. I had ordained two elders and two deacons in their local church near Jefferson, which I pastored. Half of them, including one elder, a Mr. Davidson, and Mr. Henion, refused to meet with them further, though I urged them to remain with the Salem people. Meanwhile, about half of all the brethren in the Willamette Valley had remained with Stanberry. They asked me urgently to unite then with the half of the Salem people who had refused to remain with the Dugger group. For a while I refused. But it left only a small membership still with the Dugger division, and I finally agreed to organize them and serve as their pastor – although the Stanberry brethren kept their membership and sent tithes to Stanberry, while the Henion family and others, including the Coles, counted their membership with the parent church of the Worldwide Church of God – and Mr. C. Wayne Cole is still with us in the very important capacity of director of ministerial services. I continued to pastor the Stanberry-based group in the Willamette Valley until probably in 1942, when I spent some months in Hollywood starting the DAILY radio broadcasting and speaking Sunday afternoons to a packed house at the Biltmore theater. I had GIVEN them my time and services freely, at my own and Eugene church expense. I sought none of their members and none came with us – though as brethren we still had love one for the other. Incorporation becomes necessary And I did not start out by incorporating myself pretending to be a church. We, in the growing Church of God – then Eugene-based – finally had grown to a size where incorporation became a necessity. IN NO WAY is Garner Ted doing as his father did, and any claim that he is, is a point-blank lie resorted to, to DECEIVE God’s people and present the REPREHENSIBLE things Garner Ted is now doing in a good light. It is Satan who tries to make us believe that wrong is right. But now what about the seven churches of Revelation 2 and 3? I have always said, and still affirm, that these seven messages to the seven churches are picturing in advance the seven CONDITIONS to be found in the ONE CONTINUING TRUE CHURCH – but with the Ephesian condition dominant during the first era or years of time, the Smyrna condition becoming dominant in the next period of time, and so on with the Laodicean condition outstanding in the same true Church at about the time of the great tribulation and climaxing with Christ’s second coming. To expound that fully requires more space than I have here. It will be covered later. But the crux of the whole matter is simply THIS: Where, in all this effort at persuading God’s people to follow Garner Ted Armstrong, a man DISFELLOWSHIPPED, who did, and is continuing now from without, to sow the seeds of discord among brethren – in all their arguments, WHERE IS GOD? WHERE IS JESUS CHRIST, living HEAD of the Church? One thing I can say definitely and with authority, God and our Head, JESUS CHRIST, have NOT left God’s one and only TRUE CHURCH. These dissidents are LOOKING AT MEN! They are leaving GOD out of their thinking. For 44 YEARS the living JESUS CHRIST HAS BEEN HEADING, LEADING, GUIDING AND BLESSING GOD’S ONE AND ONLY TRUE CHURCH! HE has not forsaken it. HE is not in ANY effort to pull members out from GOD’s Church, where CHRIST is working. HE is NOT following Garner Ted Armstrong, who resorted to a conspiracy to water down God’s TRUTH – to SECULARIZE God’s Church and college – to literally PUT GOD AND CHRIST OUT OF THE COLLEGE AND CHURCH! HE is not! Will You? Some were leaving Jesus when here in the human flesh (John 6:66), “… many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.” Would you have been one of them?]]>

OPINION: The Two Anointed Ones of Zechariah 4

< ![CDATA[
 
Two Men, feeding the same candlestick, the same “golden oil”.
Jesus Christ says in John 6:63, to the disciples who would later be His apostles, “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.”
In John 17, Jesus Christ prays unto His Father in Heaven, God, “I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word. “(verse 6)
And, “For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me. “(Verse 8)
Pictured in Zechariah 4, are TWO APOSTLES feeding the same Worldwide Church of God.
Continue reading…

Booklets Have Powerful Impact!

Booklets Have Powerful Impact!

By Richard Rice

PASTOR GENERAL’ S REPORT, MARCH 2, 1984

Most of us in God’s Church can probably remember one or two booklets that especially caught our attention during the initial stages of our spiritual education. Many of our readers are prompted to write in after a particular booklet has brought them great enlightenment or taught a valuable lesson. The following letters show the impact our literature can have. I have just finished reading your booklet on water baptism, and feel I am definitely ready to be baptized. I was born into a Catholic family and was baptized as an infant. I had water either poured or sprinkled on me, but I know I was not immersed. One night I came across The “WORLD TOMORROW” program and it literally changed my life. Now I know and understand that I must obey God, His laws and commandments. I fear God and want to do what pleases Him–now I need some help. I would like to have some questions answered: Can I baptize myself? For I have baptized myself with the aid of my wife. Can I baptize my wife? I also did that just before baptizing myself. Do you need witnesses? If what I did was not valid, then I would like very much if one of your ministers would come to my house and baptize my wife and myself. R.B. (Brooklyn,. NY) I have picked up a couple of your magazines at the supermarket, and just sent in a card to subscribe. My son (age 11) looked over my shoulder at the magazines and some of the ads for your free booklets really caught his eye–particularly WHO IS THE BEAST? and THE FOUR HORSEMEN. Please send these booklets-the ad sent him running to get his Bible when I told him what the booklets were about1 He’s sitting now with his nose buried in the book of Revelation instead of being glued to the TV. I must thank you with all my heart. Your clever ads got his attention and interest, which is more than I’ve been able to do. M.S. (West Terre Haute, IN) Your booklet PAGAN HOLIDAYS OR GOD’S HOLY DAYS-WHICH? came on March 15th almost a year ago. I decided to read it when I got the chance. After a long day I was looking forward to retiring. On doing so, I found I couldn’t sleep. Shortly before 2 a.m. I got up, wide awake, and went downstairs to read the booklet. By the middle of the booklet, I was so excited about Passover and the holy days I was ready to write in for a calendar adhering to God’s timetable. My curiosity urged me to read ahead in hope I would find the answer, and I did. Under 1983, March 15th was the first day of God’s Sacred Year–the day the booklet arrived! I could see that God was actually leading me and answering my questions. L.L. (Walworth, NY) I have learned more from a couple of your booklets–THE TEN COMMANDMENTS and THE UNITED STATES AND BRITAIN IN PROPHECY–than I could have learned at the local Bible college. I have read and studied both booklets twice. I learned that the Ten Commandments are for me today. They are not some obsolete laws that were done away with by Jesus Christ as some churches teach. I guess I really knew this all along but I hadn’t given them much thought or study. I now feel like I know who I am and where I came from: also where I’m going. I feel like I’m finally on my way and will make it by the grace of God. R.B. (Plant City, FL) I’d just like to say how much I’ve learned from reading some of the literature you have sent me. I am surprised at some of the things that I’m learning and would like to thank Mr. Armstrong, especially for the booklet WHAT DO YOU MEAN–THE UNPARDONABLE SIN? For the past few months I’ve wondered if I’d blown it all in one fell swoop of stupidity. Thank God I haven’t! S.S. (Ontario, CA)]]>

The "Grammy's" and Today's Music: A Reflection of America's Rotting Culture

The “Grammy’s” and Today’s Music: A Reflection of America’s Rotting Culture

By Gene Hogberg

PASTOR GENERAL’S REPORT, MARCH 2, 1984

  On February 28, pop-and-rock sensation Michael Jackson set a “Grammy” record by finishing first in eight categories in the record industry’s 26th annual awards ceremony. Jackson is such a sensation that his “smash” album, “Thriller,” could sell as high as 35 million copies worldwide this year. No solo album has ever sold more than 12 million.   For the awards ceremony, Jackson was dressed gaudily as usual, in a spangled uniform with epaulets and sequined right glove. His high, squeaky voice showed that he would never pass first-year speech class at Ambassador Colleqe. (I can see it now: “Michael, you have to lower your voice and speak-out! Repeat after me: Up, up, up, around, around, around, down, down, DOWN !” )   However, for sheer abominability a group performing a number from a certain stage-show album stole the show. Five men came out dressed in “drag” (women’s clothes). Four of them receded, with the fifth proceeding into a solo. Dressed in evening gown, make-up, the works, the baritone boomed out the words, “I am what I am.” In the song, he defiantly defended his right to be and act the way he appeared. Afterwards, the audience applauded, naturally–confirming the truism of Proverbs 28:4: “Those who forsake the law praise the wicked.”   Much can be said of the wickedness of today’s rock–and especially rock- video–music. The television critic of the SAN FRANCISCO EXAMINER, Michael Dougan, wrote an exceptional piece in his paper’s January 12 edition:   “One of the worst things about MTV, the rock video channel shown on most local cable outlets, is its rejection–through song lyrics and visual symbolism–of qualities like warmth, humor or interpersonal affection. Alienation is the operative mood and, considering most viewers are at an impressionable age, that’s not healthy. “Now the National Coalition on Television Violence…has quantified the problem. After monitoring MTV for an unspecified period of time, NCTV has issued a report claiming more than half – of MTV’s videos “featured violence or strongly suggested violence.”  NCTV counted an average of 18 instances of violant or hostile” action each hour, with 35 percent of the violence being “of a sexual nature.” “Rock video’s combination of lyrics and images adds a new dimension to television violence,” said NCTV project director Phil Galli. “Many of the videos added violent imagery that wasn’t even present in the lyrics.” NCTV Chairman Thomas Radecki had – his own objections: “The message is that violence is normal and OK, that hostile sexual relations between men and women are common and acceptable, that heroes actively engaged in torture and murrder of others are fun..”… Among the … examples from the NCTV report: “‘Fight Fire With Fire,’ by Kansas, features slave torture and sadistic women. ‘Murder Weapon,’ by T-Bone Burnett, features the stalking of a woman to kill her with a gun. Golden Earring’s ‘Twilight Zone’ features slow-motion murder and repeated interrogation torture. MTV has women boiled alive while other women are portrayed as cold-hearted and enjoying torturing men….” Nor was NCTV enamored by the names of some rock groups, including Three Teens Kill Four, Sadist Faction, Pseudo Sadists, Rash of Stabbinhs and …Dead Kennedys. (It’s interesting to note that two of these titles–“Three Teens Kill Four” and “Rash of Stabbings”–are clearly inspired by newspaper headlines.) … It’s not that everyone who watches MTV is bound for rape and mayhem, of course, but the desensitization issue is a real matter of concern.”   It has always amused me a bit that some outside church groups have devoted so much energy to try to decipher alleged diabolical backward messages (“backward masking”) in rock songs. Such plotting has undoubtedly occurred. But this misses the much bigger picture: There is plenty of harm ”up front” in what young people plainly hear and see. Ours is a society increasingly “without natural affection” (I1 Tim. 3:3).]]>