News of the Churches of God

The Journal : News of the Churches of God
After 21 years and 202 issues, the FINAL ISSUE OF THE JOURNAL: Jan. 31, 2018, has been published – a bumper issue of 40 pages.
Printed back issues are available for purchase, and can be viewed online in pdf from issue 158 onwards. The Journal’s webmaster, Alan Ruth, plans to transfer all the earlier issues into pdf.

Will Horrific Mass Shootings Ever Stop?
(Standing Watch) video – 12 minutes

Biblical Calendar 2018
Equinox” originally meant the time when night and day are of exactly equal length, but today it has the scientific definition of “the time when the sun crosses the plane of the earth’s equator, making night and day of approximately equal length all over the earth.”
A relatively new word – “Equilux” – expresses the original meaning.
Lighted Way Ministries begins the biblical year at the visible new moon following the vernal equinox – but has changed to what it terms “the true tekufah” (i.e. the equilux).
(Tekufah: Strong’s H8622: a revolution, i.e. (of the sun) course, (of time) lapse).
In 2018 the equilux in Oregon (where LWM is based) occurs before the March new moon, but the equinox is after the new moon. “The true tekufah” (equilux) thus brings the annual holy days one month earlier.
Using local data (rather than Jerusalem) for the equinox – and even more so for the equilux – causes problems, as explained in USNO’s article on equinoxes.
LWM’s most recent festival (Tabernacles 2017) was held in Townsville, Queensland, where the equilux will be on March 27 – after the new moon – so Passover/UB there should be one month later than in Oregon.
Furthermore, within a couple of degrees of the equator, daylight is always several minutes longer than the night – i.e. equilux does not occur at this latitude – so technically there could not be any annual holy days there.

Restored Church of God
Letter to Exit & Support Network, February 12 [name withheld]:
“This [
Restored Church of God Destroyed My Marriage] is a sad story, repeated too often. Personally, I am grateful that my husband in RCG continues to support us. His understanding of “common” is less strict than what I have read on your site.
I know that most of the RCG ministry works without pay, just being compensated for expenses. So, it is not a mystery who gets the money [
Pack]. They teach that the End is near, so why bother saving? I also know they believe that they are not looking for Jesus to return, rather they believe that Elijah is coming to “rule the world” for a time.
Also, a top minister in RCG works full time to “correct” Pack’s false prophecies on their computers. That way, no one without a hard copy will know how wrong he is!”

Port Austin Bible Campus
Norman and Marleen Edwards and Bill Buckman have lived on the former Port Austin Air Force Base property since 2004 … The Edwards are now retirement age themselves. It is no longer as easy to pick up new homeless guests or resolve disputes among existing guests in the middle of the night—and still tend to all the necessary work the next day.”
They will be moving to Nashville, Tennessee, shortly, and Norman has set up a Facebook page for the new ministry, Do His Works.
Jeff and Judy Kramer, with their 5 young children, arrived in October 2017, and will take over the running of PABC. In November Jeff presented his plan for the Michigan House of Hope Homeless Ministry.

Philadelphia Church of God
In December treasurer Andrew Lochner alluded to the heavy financial pressure placed upon the church by Gerald Flurry’s decision to buy a private jet, and yet he also announced: “There are plans in the works to expand our efforts to reach the cities of Judah (Isaiah 40).”
The first of these plans will cost PCG’s members $500,000.
JERUSALEM—A “fly on the Byzantine wall” south of the Temple Mount has been witnessing a flurry of activity at an archaeological dig site in recent weeks. Since January 15, Dr. Eilat Mazar, 11 Herbert W. Armstrong College students and graduates, and 11 Israeli workers have been excavating a site on the Ophel. So far, each day on the dig site has brought something new and different, whether it’s constructing staircases, sorting sand bags, staging equipment, hefting stones, or passing buckets of dirt.
In December, Herbert W. Armstrong College chancellor and Armstrong International Cultural Foundation chairman Gerald Flurry announced that the foundation would sponsor a total of $500,000 to help Dr. Mazar complete her second phase of excavation at the eastern edge of the Ophel. The sponsorship consists of a $300,000 donation and an estimated $200,000 sponsorship for travel, accommodations and other expenses of seven students and four graduates from Herbert W. Armstrong College to provide manpower.
This excavation represents a big step up for the foundation,” said college president and foundation vice president Stephen Flurry. “Since 2006, we have provided Dr. Mazar with 55 volunteer diggers for six different excavations in Jerusalem—two in the City of David and four on the Ophel. The 2018 Ophel excavation, however, is the first time the foundation has provided volunteers and funded the overall costs for the dig.”

In the last issue of The Philadelphian for 2017, treasurer Andrew Lochner alluded to the heavy financial pressure placed upon the church by Gerald Flurry’s decision to buy a private jet, a photograph of which was displayed on the front page.
He said that God wants the brethren and co-workers to “continue to sacrifice and respond to His direction,” and so Lochner urges them to pray about how they might be able to send in even more money, and pray that more co-workers will be added.
About midway through 2017, Pastor General Gerald Flurry took a more aggressive approach to God’s finances to make sure we are putting to use the money God has provided to do the Work. That act of faith caused us to more closely monitor expenses, measure our results from various advertising and promotional campaigns, and to really work more efficiently to accomplish more with the money we spend.
There are plans in the works to expand our efforts to reach the cities of Judah (Isaiah 40). That will require additional resources, but God will provide. His response in 2017 has been very inspiring. God wants us to be active and aggressive. He wants us to continue to sacrifice and respond to His direction as we finish this Work. As we near the end of the year, please continue to pray about your personal finances.”

United Church of God
On February 2nd, Stephen Allwine, who was an elder in the Twin Cities congregation, was sentenced to life imprisonment without parole for the 1st degree murder of his wife, Amy, in November 2016.
They first met when they were students at Ambassador College in Big Sandy.

Rosemount Town Pages (a local newspaper) reported:
A Washington County jury convicted Stephen Carl Allwine of first-degree premeditated murder Jan. 31, concluding a week-long trial.
District Judge William B. Ekstrum handed down the life sentence without parole, Friday, Feb. 2.
Allwine drugged and shot his wife, Amy Allwine, in the head before staging her death as a suicide, prosecutors said.
A two-month investigation revealed at least two extramarital affairs by her husband, along with a complex “dark web” plot for a hired hitman to kill her.
Stephen Allwine chose to have his wife killed, prosecutors said, rather than tarnish his reputation within his local church with a divorce.
Prosecutor Fred Fink said the complex cache of evidence and Allwine’s “obsessiveness” in planning his wife’s murder made the case unlike any he’s handled during his four-decade career.
It’s fair that this defendant spends the rest of his life in prison,” Fink said.
Authorities found Amy Allwine’s body in her Cottage Grove home Nov. 13, 2016, while responding to a 911 from Stephen Allwine. She suffered a single gunshot wound to the head. Medical examiners determined her death was a homicide due to the lack of blood spatter and gunpowder on her hands.
A toxicology report revealed large amounts of scopolamine in Amy Allwine’s body. She never had a prescription for the drug, which is used to treat nausea and causes drowsiness and confusion as a side effect. Investigators later found a 35-digit bitcoin code backed up on Stephen Allwine’s computer that linked to posts on a “dark web” page about purchasing scopolamine.
Amy Allwine’s family described the terrifying final months of her life in their statements.The summer before her death, Amy Allwine received anonymous emails graphically threatening her family’s lives and urging her to kill herself. Prosecutors said the FBI contacted the family about the emails at the time.A forensic search of Stephen Allwine’s computer revealed searches for the names and addresses of his wife’s relatives. Julie Brown, Amy Allwine’s sister, said the FBI warned the threats should be taken seriously. Tasks like grocery shopping, Brown said, spurred intense anxiety. Brown said her sister “lived in fear every waking moment of the last months of her life.”
In a written statement, Amy Allwine’s parents Chuck and Joanne Zutz said the betrayal they felt as authorities investigated Stephen Allwine amplified their grief. Stephen Allwine lived in the Zutz’s home for two months after his wife’s death, the statement said. Their daughter’s murder, they said, robbed her 9-year-old son of his mother and “terminated” their ability to enjoy cherished family traditions.
Throughout their grief, Brown said the family found strength in their faith, which comforted Amy Allwine as she faced threats on her family’s lives.
We’ve lost so much, but with God’s grace, all is not lost,” Brown said.
Other friends and family described Amy Allwine as a loving mother, a compassionate friend and a talented figure in the area’s close-knit dog training community. “She believed in people and helped them believe in themselves,” a family friend said.
Stephen Allwine stared down at the desk in front of him during the statements.
Allwine maintained his innocence in his final statements and expressed grief over the loss of his wife.
Judge Ekstrum spoke briefly before sentencing Allwine, describing the 44-year-old as “cold” and a “hypocrite”. “You’re an incredible actor,” Ekstrum said in response to Allwine’s statement. “You can turn tears on and off.”

Peter Eddington & Victor Kubik issued the following statement on February 1st, in response to his conviction the previous day:
“Back in late 2016 we reported on a shocking and tragic event in Minnesota. Amy Allwine, wife of Stephen Allwine, was found dead of a gunshot wound in the Allwine’s home. A lengthy and in-depth police investigation ensued and Mr. Allwine was eventually charged with premeditated first-degree murder by a Minnesota Grand Jury. A trial began earlier this month. Because of the sensational nature of the facts surrounding the case, a considerable number of international and national media outlets covered the events leading up to and including the trial.
Last Wednesday evening, after deliberating a little more than six hours, the Minnesota jury involved in the Amy Allwine murder trial delivered a verdict—finding Stephen Allwine guilty of first degree murder. After now being declared guilty, his formal sentencing is scheduled for Friday morning, February 2. Given the grim details of the terrible death of Amy, we expect media attention to continue for some time.
At this point it is important to remember that this situation remains profoundly tragic in a highly personal way for many. The justice system has acted and rendered a verdict, which we as a Church respect. But we should remember that this process has been exceptionally hard on the families involved, and also for close friends and extended members of the families. As innocent independent victims of this tragedy they face a difficult and challenging mix of strong emotions—including renewed shock and grief that will last for some time. We need to recognize this. Jesus instructed us that we are to love one another, and now is an especially good time to fulfill that.
Minnesota law will call for an automatic appeal, so the process will actually continue in some form. It is our fervent hope that all will continue praying to our merciful Father about the entire situation and be compassionate about what the extended families are going through.
Here is an important point: while we certainly respect the verdict, at the same time we personally are not to sit in judgment. As Jesus Himself instructs us, “Judge not, that you be not judged” (Matthew 7:1). Jesus also tells us that “there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, nor hidden that will not be known” (Luke 12:2). We can have confidence that our all-knowing God is aware of all aspects regarding this tragic situation. We need to remember what James, the brother of Jesus, writes to us from a spiritual perspective: “Mercy triumphs over judgment” (James 2:13). As a result, we will not be making speculative comments about the verdict.
s noted, the details of the murder are terrible. Coupled with the fact that Mr. Allwine was technically a lay (unpaid) minister at the time of Amy’s death, this has made for heightened media coverage—which we expect will continue in some form. Regarding his status, it is important to know that during the police investigation Mr. Allwine publicly admitted to conduct that violated the established ethics policy for ministers of the United Church of God, an International Association. As a result, and given the policy’s zero-tolerance application of that policy, the Council of Elders removed him from the ministry in 2017. While that action has been appropriately taken, I do encourage all of us to continue praying to our almighty God for direction and comfort for all parties.
t is also important to note that some major media previously and erroneously asserted that the Church’s teachings on marriage and divorce may have been a contributing factor in the case. As we have been told by those who attended the trial, that was not a major focus during the actual proceedings. As a precaution, we did previously publish a public statement correcting this information, which is available on the members website. You are welcome to review and refer to that as needed. We may update it as appropriate.
Again, because the details of the murder are so graphic we expect a considerable amount of public attention about the verdict—both in the short-term and ongoing in the weeks and even months ahead. This public attention may have certain outcomes, including making things more complicated for the families.
On a related matter, given that both the United Church of God and the work that we do may come to the attention of the media as a result of this trial and verdict, we humbly ask that you pray that all will serve to ultimately further the will of God, particularly as it concerns what we have been called to do (Romans 12:1). As Paul writes with authority, “We know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).
my Allwine’s parents and siblings made this public statement: “We can summon no words to describe life without Amy. We loved her and miss her tremendously. We now turn to the path of privately healing and grieving.” We personally ask that we all join with them and all the families in praying for this healing.
May the work and mission of God advance urgently in these times of turbulent need. Thank you for your prayers. You remain in ours.”

Church of God, a Worldwide Association
The February 2018 edition of One Accord is now online.

In the Sabbath service in London on 20th January, David King gave a sermonette on the subject of Why Say Amen? at the end of a public prayer (starts at 12 mins., ends at 25 mins.) This would seem to have been prompted by the recent dispute which led to Ron Harmon leaving the House of God fellow minister Mike Alewine arguing that failing to say “amen” is a salvational matter, as denying “the Amen” (Rev.3:14) is denying Christ (see House of God post below).

There is now a web page for the Festival of Tabernacles 2018 site in Cortona, Tuscany, Italy. Registration for all other festival sites will not open until April 1st – however, owing to the level of interest for this site being well above the 300 capacity of the meeting room, Jim Franks announced last month that registration for Cortona will open on February 11th at 10am CST – and is expected to close on the same day. The 300 successful applications will be notified on February 13th.
Those who have not previously registered for a festival or camp site in the USA (which of course is almost everybody in Europe) must open an account at before they can register for Cortona. Furthermore, only those currently attending COGWA congregations will be allowed to register. COGWA’s only congregations in Europe are in south-east England, Paris, Liege and Geneva – so those brethren in Europe living too far away to attend Sabbath meetings in these locations will be barred from registering for Cortona.
COGWA will have two other festival sites in Europe – in Normandy and Winchester in southern England.
For those having a strong preference for Italy, an annual Festival of Tabernacles is held in Sabaudia, near Rome. A four-day pre-festival cultural tour of Tuscany (Florence, Pisa, Siena and San Gimignano) is being offered to brethren who can attend the Day of Atonement at the festival site. (The group is aligned with the United Church of God.)

Clyde Kilough asks, in his article, ‘How to Spot a Counterfeit Church’, in the January-February 2018 edition of Discern Magazine:
“Fake Faith: What would you do, how would you feel, if you discovered your religion was counterfeit? Most of us have been “given” our religion by our parents, or maybe we “shopped” for one we liked. Is it possible that, in all innocence, we possess a fake belief? …
Look at the thousands of denominations in the world today representing differing interpretations of what Christ did and said. Isn’t that a problem?”
Clyde Kilough was “given” his religion by his parents. He became a minister in that religion, the Worldwide Church of God.
After the founder died, his successor began to change its doctrines, starting with the nature of God (the Trinity). Clyde taught the “new truth” – which must have been a “fake faith” – since he has subsequently changed churches twice, both of which teach the previous “truth”. Isn’t that a problem?

The Shining Light
James Malm posted the following on 31st January [full text here]:
It is my very sad duty to inform the brethren that my very dear friend Constance Lynn Belanger has been seduced and has left the faith. At the beginning of 2017 Constance retired from writing for this site and during the course of that year departed from the faith under the influence of a certain person.
Later in the year Constance wrote me with some links and asked me for my opinion on a flat earth. I thought that this was an honest question and dutifully looked this up and then sent her my opinion.
She got all upset at my answer and wrote accusing me of treating her like a child and of attacking her. It was obvious that she had swallowed this and had been trying to get me to accept it as well. Then when I did not do so, she justified her refusing to look at the evidence and rejecting me, by accusing me of something that had never entered my mind. I had always considered her a beloved friend and I found this quite a shock.
This kind of cop out is so common in today’s COG’s: when people cannot refute something they do not want to accept; they just accuse the messenger of attacking them and tune out, cleaving to their error.
Constance had fully swallowed the Flat Earth error [hence my recent post on the subject]. She then chose to disassociate herself from me because I did not agree, taking the view that nothing I say can be believed because I do not accept the “truth” that the earth is flat.”

Passover & Festival of Unleavened Bread 2018
Passover/Unleavened Bread 2018 page has been added.
Seekers of Yahweh’s Ministries has deemed it necessary to impose the following rule: “Due to many bad reports of things that have taken place at other gatherings during Yah’s Feasts, we here at Seekers of Yahweh want to make it very clear that the following topics for discussion will not be focused on, and if it is your intent to bring these topics (listed below) that are creating division, instead of studying with us, please find another venue …
Chris DeWeese wrote recently in The Word and The Way: “For the past four or five years, our movement has been playing “whack a mole” with ludicrous doctrines. Every year some new strange doctrine comes up and then those who would normally be talking about sound doctrine go to war trying to tamp down the strange doctrine.”

Voice in the Wilderness Church of God
Bill Goffs update, January 29th, reveals the unchristian attitudes of some corporate Church of God leaders towards the impoverished children of God in Africa.
Trouble At The Orphanage
Greetings Brethren,
Hope this letter finds you well, as we patiently await the return of our Lord and Savior, whom this world so desperately needs. We are having some trouble at the Sengera Orphanage. The police have arrested Haron (the overseer). They are complaining that we are not completing the improvements they required of us, fast enough. We still need to plaster the outside of the cafeteria, tile the girlsbathroom, and erect a security wall along the front of the orphanage.
We have made much progress with their original demands; the store room is completed, the boysindoor and outdoor toilets and shower have been tiled. The cafeteria is completed inside so the children have been able to use it. But the work came to a stop because schools were opening, and we used the only remaining funds to pay their tuition.
Fortunately this time they released Haron temporarily, although they are threatening to close the orphanage down if we dont complete these required improvements quickly. (Last time they jailed him for two days, and when he was released, he had to be brought to hospital because he had been beaten by some of the inmates.)
Brethren, If you can spread the word that these church orphans need help, please do so. I have contacted numerous large churches of God recently, trying to get them to help assist, but sad to say, havent received even one positive response. Please understand, Im not requesting more help from the few who have consistently been assisting these orphans, Im reaching out to those who have the means to help, but are not aware of the dire situation, because their leaderscontinue to cause division in the churches of God, and refuse to inform their congregations that there are true members of the Body of Christ, the Church, who need help.
After informing one high ranking leader of one of the large churches of God of the dire need of some of our impoverished brethren, he patted me on the back and said (and I quote): You’re doing a great job over there, but we like to take care of our own brethren before helping those abroad.He would not help at all, and I know for a fact that his organization has tens of thousands of dollars of tithe and offering money sitting in the bank.
I then contacted another high ranking leader, explaining the suffering that our African brethren are enduring, and how they need our help. His reply was even more shocking. He said (and I quote again): preaching the gospel is a business, and when you dont get a return, you pull out. We tried Africa, but got nothing back, so we will not help African brethren.
Another well known leaderof another larger church of God group, who had a little over $200,000 of tithe and offering money sitting in his bank account, also refused to help. He said we weren’t part of hisorganization. Yes, you heard me correctly, he would not help, because we werent part of his particular COG group’. And he not only had $200,000 sitting in his bank accounts, but was also purchasing stocks and bonds with all the tithe & offering money that the brethren were sending him.
I dont mean to be so blunt here, but keeping silent about this atrocity would be a sin. The Apostle Paul instructed us to do good unto all men, especially those who are of the household of faith. Brethren, these suffering people are of the household of faith. Even these orphaned children came to us from various churches of God who could no longer care for them after their parents died. We didnt care which particular COG group they were part of, that didnt matter one iota. What mattered was that they needed our help. And believe me, their needs are quite dire. And Im not only addressing these orphans here, there are also other brethren who need our help. I received a call from a COG pastor in Western Kenya last week informing me about two deaths in his congregation. One was a child. They needed to bury them, but didnt have enough funds to purchase coffins. I had to turn their request down due to lack of funds.
We have also been assisting a number of truewidows, also from various COG groups. One from the border group living near the Maasai tribe, another from Ogembo, and a few from Sengera area. We help the brethren that are reaching out to us the best we can, and our Heavenly Father has always been good at stretching the funds that come in, but if a few more were involved, we could help so much more.
Brethren, dont allow these false leaders to continue dividing the church of the living God. Dont be fooled by men. Men have divided the church of God into hundreds of separate organizations, but in Gods eyes, He sees only 2 groups (yes two) the wise & the foolish, the sheep & the goats.
Please pray for our impoverished brethren who are living in these 3rd world impoverished countries, many of them are suffering severely. And most of all let us pray Thy Kingdom Come– because the coming kingdom of God is the only thing that can resolve all the man made troubles of this untoward world.
Your brother in Christ, Bill Goff.
The update includes pictures of the orphans at Sengera House and at school

Legacy Institute
Gloria Sexton’s letter of January 27th provides an update on Legacy’s work in Myanmar and Thailand, and a progress report on Leon Sexton’s recovery from his stroke.

United Church of God
The January-February 2018 issue of the Beyond Today magazine is now on-line.
The first feature article discusses the controversy surrounding the opening in Washington DC of The Museum of the Bible.

Victor Kubik writes, January 25th: “I received word today that Aaron Dean, International Coordinator and Ambassador Bible College Dean of Students, was taken to the hospital emergency room last night, Wednesday, in severe pain and unable to breathe. The doctors determined that he had a blood clot in his right lung. He was anointed shortly after arriving at the hospital. He is currently resting and has been given a clean bill of health otherwise, but remains under observation. He will undergo further tests on his legs in an attempt to identify where the blood clot came from and to determine if there are any more. He is hoping to be released on Friday to go home. Your prayers for his speedy and full recovery are much appreciated.”

Public Statement: Trial of Stephen Allwine
a former lay minister of the United Church of God, an International Association
Posted on Jan 26, 2018 by Peter Eddington, Victor Kubik
The Church strongly follows the biblical command that murder—even the mere thought of murder—is condemned as sin and can never be justified.
In the coverage of the January 2018 trial of former lay minister Stephen Allwine, some media have included inaccurate comments about the United Church of God, an International Association. They attempt to link Church beliefs regarding divorce to a possible motive for the murder of Amy Allwine.
Here are the facts about the United Church of God and its beliefs: We highly value Scripture and regard the Bible as the authoritative Word of God. In respect to marriage, the Church positively teaches it involves a lifelong commitment of mutual love, respect and selfless service. Marriage is a Holy covenant that reflects our relationship with Jesus Christ. The Church also strongly follows the biblical command that murder—even the mere thought of murder—is condemned as sin and can never be justified (Matthew 5:21-32). Unlike what some may have insinuated, our ministers are called to be humble servants—as stated in the New Testament: “These pastors must be men of blameless lives because they are God’s ministers. They must not be proud or impatient; they must not be drunkards or fighters or greedy for money” (Titus 1:7, Living Bible).
The United Church of God is transparent and regards our mission, in part, to be a light to this world (Matthew 5:14). As humans, we are all subject to missing the mark and stand in need of a Savior. We have a glorious Redeemer—our Elder Brother, Jesus Christ—who died for all of us that our sins and shortcomings may be forgiven (Acts 4:12). That selfless act of Jesus results in marvelous reconciliation to God our Father and subsequently in “bringing many sons to glory” (Hebrews 2:10). As the Bible authoritatively and positively declares, it is the fervent desire of God for “everyone to be saved and to understand the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4, New Living Translation).
The United Church of God is deeply saddened by this tragedy and urges all to pray for the families and those involved.”

House of God
On leaving the House of God, Ron Harmon wrote: “I will be continuing the work in the ways I can from my home. I’m not sure at this time how that will manifest itself, but the fact is, I can’t stop serving God.”
He has decided to continue with the bible studies – which he has been broadcasting from his home in Temple, Texas, on Wednesday evenings – each Sabbath at 12 noon ET, under the title, Tomorrow’s Church of God – ‘looking to a future with God!’

Ron Harmon presented a final video message on Wednesday, 13th December, as many brethren were confused as to his reasons for leaving right now, since the issue of whether or not it is an obligation to say “amen” in a public prayer was a topic of discussion years ago.
Fellow minister Mike Alewine argues that denying “the Amen” (
Rev.3:14) is denying Christ.
In his
e-mail response to Mike in July, Ron wrote:
I did one sermon on this, and in that sermon I told everyone it wasn’t a doctrine or a edict of the church; they were free to use amen or any other phrase to end a prayer, or none at all … As far as Frank was concerned, he took it to a level where I would never have, but that was Frank.”

Frank Scherich gave a video sermon back in 2014 : Amen Again
(He was killed on 1st October 2015. He had been attending the Festival of Tabernacles in Galveston, Texas, where he was joint co-ordinator. He was hit by a car around 4.00pm, while trying to rescue his dog from traffic, and died in hospital that evening.)

This is Ron Harmon’s letter of resignation, dated Tuesday, 12th December 2017:
“To The Wonderful People of the
House of God
Unknown to most of you there has been a spiritual struggle occurring within our congregations. It was a battle not of my choosing, but it caused much tension in our home. This last Sunday at our annual meeting of the consul and ministers of the House of God, it all came to a conclusion.
This spiritual battle has been raging behind the scenes for many years bringing me to a final conclusion. I can’t work effectively when others I work with are so consumed by my different beliefs on ending prayers, not allowing camaraderie to exist.
As of Sunday, Virginia and I are no longer members of the House of God. I won’t get into the specifics for the sake of the church, only to say the following. I cannot go against my convictions and how I see the scriptures. There are some in the leadership of the church who seem to believe my salvation is lost because of what I believe on one issue. I can only say this, you might be careful how you judge others and their salvation.
I will be continuing the work in the ways I can from my home. I’m not sure at this time how that will manifest itself, but the fact is, I can’t stop serving God.
I wish everyone well and God’s blessings. I’ve always tried to help make everyone’s lives a little better at the House of God and we hope you remember us fondly. Virginia and I are deeply saddened by what has transpired over the last few months. We are saddened to not be a part of your lives any longer, but we no longer feel welcomed, and we don’t go where we’re not welcomed.
God Bless you all: Ron Harmon.”

Voice in the Wilderness Church of God
Bill Goff writes, January 12th: “A few years back we started an orphanage called Sengera House Orphanage in Kenya [Jan 8th update]. We have taken on a number of orphans (both boys and girls) from various COG groups who could no longer care for them after their parents died. We want to thank you for giving our web site exposure, because what you have done has benefited ‘many’ widows and orphans living in that impoverished part of the world.
Trying to make other members of the COG aware of the plight of their impoverished  brethren is difficult, because most of the larger Churches of God won’t allow us to address their congregations with the dire situation in which these brethren of our are living. But the exposure you have given, has been heard by a number of brethren tuned into your site, and some have now been assisting these widows and orphans. So thank you for your good works.”
Thanks to all who have contributed

Ronald L. Dart Evangelistic Association
The press release announcing the formation of ‘The Ronald L. Dart Evangelistic Association’ (RLDEA), created by Allie Dart, stated: “Mrs. Dart’s will prohibits the assets of her estate from going directly to Christian Educational Ministries.”
Lawyers appointed by CEM’s board (now headed by Larry Watkins) are contesting her will.
Wes White has clarified the RLDEA’s position regarding CEM’s legal dispute over Allie Dart’s will. (Edited statement)
1. I have nothing to do with the estate of Allie Dart. What goes on with Allie’s estate is none of my business, and I have no desire to get involved with it.
2. What goes on in CEM is none of my business either, and I have no desire to get involved in CEM’s business. I have no ill will toward anyone in CEM, no animosity on my part. There were rumors that I was trying to get this or that done in CEM. Not true.
3. Any legal disputes that are going on right now between Allie’s estate and CEM have absolutely nothing to do with me. I am completely uninvolved in the legal difficulties that are taking place right now between CEM and Allie’s estate.
If Allie’s estate ever gets settled, and if there’s some money left over after the lawyers take big chunks out of it, and if some of her money ends up going to RLDEA, as dictated by her will, then at that time it will be my responsibility to help expedite those funds in the way that Allie asked us to. So, until that day comes, if it comes, because lawyers are really good at eating up estates with their legal fees. Until that day comes, I have nothing that I can further report regarding the RLDEA. Further, both sides have asked me not to comment on these matters of Allie’s estate, and it is with great pleasure that I comply with that request.
4. Let’s be really clear on another point. My commitment to refrain in commenting on these legal matters does not stop me from preaching the doctrines of the Church of God. Further, I will not stop preaching the following two doctrines. I have been preaching these two doctrines for decades, and I am not going to stop now.
The first doctrine is this: the Bible makes it very clear that it’s wrong to take your brother to court. Those of you who follow this show remember that I talked about this at length on SOS #34.
The second doctrine is: stay out of the business of judging who is and who isn’t a Christian. If someone says he is a Christian, it’s not my job to say, oh, he’s not a Christian. Only Jesus can make that determination. Many people want to get around the 1st Corinthians 6 prohibition of suing fellow Christians by using this cop out line, saying, this man’s not my brother, and so I can sue him. And the way many a person makes this claim is to do it by saying things like, well, he’s not in my alphabet soup CoG. I’m in the ABC CoG, and he’s in the XYZ CoG, therefore he’s not my brother, and I can sue him. Or they say, this guy’s not even a Sabbath keeper. That means that he’s definitely not my brother, because, if he doesn’t even keep the Sabbath, he’s not a Christian. Again, I’m not making a declaration that all Sunday keepers are Christians. That’s not my call to make. Only Jesus can make that call.
If you want a really good teaching on this subject, I recommend you watch Ron Dart’s sermon Curse Not The Deaf on YouTube.

On Friday evening, October 20th, Wes White talked about the possibility of Christian Educational Ministries suing the Ronald L Dart Evangelistic Association.
He began by recalling when the Church of God International, a breakaway group from the Worldwide Church of God, was formed in 1978, “a couple of these folks went down to the courthouses in Texas and California to reserve the name CGI. This was so they could set up new churches in those two states under that new church name.
And, before they had time to set up the name CGI in the other 48 states, the lawyers over in WCG ran out into those 48 states and reserved the name CGI in those 48 states. Now, did WCG have any desire to use the name CGI in those 48 states? Of course not. Their sneaky act was very clearly a dirty trick done to undermine CGI. That was their only reason. To hurt CGI.
And I’ve got a confession. Back then, I applauded WCG’s action to do this. And I was wrong. Today, I am embarrassed and ashamed to admit that I thought it was a good thing to undermine what my brothers and sisters were doing when they were setting up CGI back in 1978. I think it was around 1985 or 86 that God softened my hard heart and showed me that this is no way to treat a brother.” …
Ron Dart left CGI about 25 years ago and started CEM … I have been told by church leaders of that time that Ron had a severance agreement with CGI … there were some people who claimed that Ron violated that … And they said to these CGI leaders, “You need to sue Ron Dart.” And guess what? The leadership of CGI said – We are not going to sue Ron Dart. And these other people got mad.” …
I bring all this up to show you that there are at least some who have taken a Christian point of view when it comes to disputes such as church splits. There are at least some of our brethren who say – We’ve got to be nice to our brothers in the church.
That’s a little bit of history. Let’s talk about the here and now – what’s going on at this moment. A lot of you have been asking me for an update on how things are going in my attempts to reach out to the leadership of CEM so that we at the Ronald L Dart Evangelistic Association can have a harmonious relationship with CEM. Because we want to help them – we want to assist them — in their efforts to promote Ron’s stuff …
I met with one of the leaders of CEM on the third day of the Feast. Also present was a minister who’s not a part of CEM. It was just the three of us alone. At a table overlooking the lake.
One of the important points that I hope we got across to these guys was that we in the RLDEA have no desire to remove board members from CEM. I hope I made it very clear that what they do at CEM is none of my business.
Second point of assurance I gave was related to the issue of Ron Dart’s intellectual property rights. I gave them assurances that, as far as I am concerned, Ron’s intellectual property belongs to CEM and not to the RLDEA. We don’t own them and we have no intention of trying to take them from CEM.
Now, there’s a back story to this IP issue. Before Allie went into her last round of surgery, she told me she didn’t believe that CEM should own Ron’s property rights. So she asked me to research this issue with an IP attorney. Not because she wanted to sue anyone. Suing was never an option in her mind. She just wanted to know what all her options were regarding Ron’s Ips.
So I found an IP attorney in Dallas and I talked to him about this. He told me that Allie had two options: Either Allie could accept the status quo that CEM owns Ron’s intellectual properties – or she could sue CEM. He said there was no third option. When I related this to Allie, she was a little disappointed, because she was hoping for some third option where there could be some kind of sharing agreement between her and CEM. Some kind of compromise. But, once she realized she only had two options, she immediately chose to accept the status quo, because she said there was no way she was going to take her brothers to court. Suing these people is NOT something that Ron would want.
Now, let’s get back to the meeting I had with a CEM board member and this other guy. I said to them near the end of this positive and productive meeting – I’d like to clear the air on two final issues.
The first issue is that we at RLDEA attempted to reserve the domain name, and we were astounded to learn that one of the CEM employees in Whitehouse had already reserved it! Just recently. Like a week or so before we tried to get it. And I told these two guys that I thought this was underhanded, because CEM has no need for the domain name I told them that the action of reserving this particular domain name was too reminiscent of when WCG reserved the name of CGI in 48 states only for the purpose of keeping GTA from using it.
So I asked the leader from CEM if he knew that this had happened. “Were you aware of this action taken by one of your paid employees?” Well, he said, he couldn’t remember. He couldn’t even remember whether or not he got an email on this subject. And he couldn’t remember whether or not he had approved it.
So then, I asked him if he would find out if he had been informed of this action and find out if he had approved of it. And I asked if he’d get back to me. Since he couldn’t remember. He said he would get back to me. I’m still waiting.
I then asked this leader in CEM if this action is something that he condones or condemns. And he refused to take a stance on it one way or another.
So then I brought up my second concern. I told these two fellows that I found out just the day before that CEM had hired a lawyer – a litigating lawyer – and that lawyer had attempted to contact the lawyer who represents Allie’s estate. At the moment of this meeting during the Feast, the two lawyers hadn’t made a connection yet, so I had no idea what the litigating lawyer for CEM wanted from Allie’s estate lawyer.
So, in this meeting, I asked a simple and direct question. I asked – Do you have some intention of suing us? And I thought they would say – “Oh no, we would never take a brother to court. We just want to clarify a few points.” That’s what I hoped to hear. But that’s not what they said. And let’s be clear. They did NOT say – “Oh yes. We are indeed going to sue you.” What they said was that a lawsuit against us was a possibility. Have I made that distinction really clear?
The other fellow in the room (a minister in the COGs) said that the CEM board members have what they call ‘fiduciary responsibilities’. He said that, if it’s determined that it’s in the best interests of CEM to sue us, then he said that’s what they should do. They would have to. Well then next, this minister turned the question back at me. He said — Wouldn’t you do the same thing if you were in their situation? And my response was: No! I said — No way …
Brethren, I can’t tell you how disappointed I was when I left the meeting … My disappointment stems from the fact that this meeting once again demonstrated to me that too many in the COGs are still dysfunctional and still know either nothing or next to nothing about Christian conflict resolution. And I know that, when I make that statement, some of you out there will get mad at me …
If you’re gonna get mad, get mad at our collective ignorance of how to treat each other as brothers in the church.
If you’re gonna get mad, get rid of the collective malevolence that exists between brothers in the church.
If you’re gonna get mad, get mad at the collective inability or unwillingness that exists out there on matters of how to deal with each other in a Christian manner.
You want to do something about this? Then temper your disappointment – with prayer. Let’s all go before our heavenly Father and ask him to heal the dysfunctionality that currently exists in the COGs. Take it to God, because the last thing we need is for people to start getting mad and getting wars started. We don’t need that.
And I think it’s important that I relate the following to you. When our brethren in the CG7 movement look at us in the Armstrong COG movement, they’re kind of aghast. They don’t understand why there’s so much acrimony among our people.”
Wes White concluded the broadcast with a study of 1 Corinthians 6:1-7 and other scriptures on resolving disputes.The above notes are a small part of the broadcast, which is available on YouTube – SOS#34 ‘Can you take your Christian Brother to court?’ You might also wish to view a related broadcast SOS#33 ‘Who is my brother?’

United Church of God
Absolute proof the UCG is going mainstream evangelical”?
James Malm posted the following on The Shining Light:
4 Jan: UCG News- I see that UCG has removed their presentation after I posted a link on 2 Jan. This is very strange since they claim to be preaching to the world. I do not seek out such material but visited and posted the link after receiving the message below. Why they removed the sermon is very hard to understand since hundreds of people heard it at the WFW.
James: You were right. Here is absolute proof the UCG is going mainstream evangelical in order to attract new members. Bible Study given at their Winter Family Weekend.”
On 5 Jan Banned by HWA posted on the same subject:
UCG: Are the fields no longer white for harvest?
Was it sensible to react to such allegations by restricting access to a sermon heard by hundreds of UCG members and heartily endorsed by UCG’s president? (see below)
For those left wondering if Jay Ledbetters sermon could be “absolute proof the UCG is going mainstream evangelical”, this sermon is still available on UCGs website – on this link

Church of God, a Worldwide Association
The January 2018 edition of One Accord is now online.
There are short reports on the Winter Family Weekends in Louisville, Kentucky, and Portland, Oregon. The Galt House is the largest hotel and conference center in Louisville, but it is becoming too small for the increasing number of people wanting to go to the WFW there. The venue has been booked again for 2018 – December 21-25 – but a larger venue will be sought for 2019 onwards.

There will be a special registration process for the Festival of Tabernacles 2018 site in Tuscany, Italy, owing to the level of interest being well above the 300 capacity of the meeting room there. Registration for all festival sites will open on April 1st, except for Italy, which will open on February 11th at 10am CST – and is expected to close on the same day. The 300 successful applications will be notified on February 13th.
(There will be two other festival sites in Europe – France and England.)

The January-February 2018 edition of Discern Magazine is now online.
Clyde Kilough asks, in his article, ‘How to Spot a Counterfeit Church’:
“Fake Faith: What would you do, how would you feel, if you discovered your religion was counterfeit? Most of us have been “given” our religion by our parents, or maybe we “shopped” for one we liked. Is it possible that, in all innocence, we possess a fake belief? …
Look at the thousands of denominations in the world today representing differing interpretations of what Christ did and said. Isn’t that a problem?”
Clyde Kilough was “given” his religion by his parents. He became a minister in that religion, the Worldwide Church of God.
After the founder died, his successor began to change its doctrines, starting with the nature of God (the Trinity). Clyde taught the “new truth” – which must have been a “fake faith” – since he has subsequently changed churches twice, each of these teaching revised versions of the previous “truth”. Isn’t that a problem?

Greater Phoenix Church of God
John Vonderhaar died in the early morning of December 22nd.
He was feeling bad stomach pains, and asked to go to the ER early in the morning on the 18th of November. After testing, it was discovered that John had stage 4 liver and colon cancer. The tumor in the colon made it very hard for John to eat much of anything. He lost a lot of weight rapidly. After two sessions of chemotherapy and drastically declining health, John decided to come home and receive hospice care. John passed away at home surrounded by his loving family on December 22nd at 4:43 am.
His wife Tonya wrote: “Joycelyn and I were singing softly to him as the rest of the family stood around to comfort John and pray. When we got to the final chorus of ‘Amazing Grace: My chains are gone’, he opened his eyes (which could no longer see), gave us that infectious ornery smile, and left this world behind … From the moment I met him, John lived his whole life to the fullest. His family will miss him very much.”

Christian Biblical Church of God
CBCG in the UK has imploded.
In the early years of CBCG Fred Coulter referred to his then small group as “the no hassle, recycle, last resort, Church of God.” It still can be – but not if you have a disagreement with Fred Coulter over doctrine or policy.
The UK ‘Office Manager’ (there was never an actual ‘office’) for the past decade has been described by someone who knew him well as “abrasive” and “easily offended”. He resigned earlier this year, warning subscribers of ‘dangers’ of keeping their names and contact details on the mailing list.
His replacement found the situation so difficult that he soon resigned in frustration – much to the fury of Fred Coulter.
There was no Festival of Tabernacles site this year (and no prospect of one any time soon). The remaining subscribers to CBCG’s material are now receiving their regular mailings from Australia.

The Plain Truth Magazine
American readers of the magazine published by the Worldwide Church of God will know of its successor, Plain Truth Ministries, which has similar beliefs to Grace Communion International, but is no longer affiliated with it.
The UK equivalent is The Plain Truth, a registered charity with no set creed, which “produces a non-denominational magazine, aimed at readers of all faiths – or none – to inform and educate them on issues affecting our everyday lives from a Christian perspective. Our goal is to provide our subscribers with ‘food for thought’.”
Among the thought provoking articles in the latest issue (Autumn 2017) is one on Christmas – Is It Crackers? (pp.10-11), in which Father Christmas has an existential crisis, while trying to explain to the author’s two young children why Africa is a ‘no fly zone’ for his reindeer and sleigh.

United Church of God

Winter Family Weekend 2017 brochure cover. Winter Family Weekend brochure cover

President Victor Kubik writes, December 21st, about “the largest gathering of United Church of God members in one place … larger than any Feast site.”
“One of the biggest weeks of the year for us here in Cincinnati begins Friday evening with the annual Winter Family Weekend. It is the largest gathering of United Church of God members in one place. It will be larger than any Feast site.
The theme this year is “In the world, but not of the world” based on Jesus Christ’s final prayer for His disciples in John 17.
This year, we have 300 more players registered for basketball and volleyball with about a dozen more teams. All available rooms at the Great Wolf Lodge were immediately sold out.
We have just posted the brochure for all the events. You can see the diverse activities for all ages. They range from seminars to Young Adult Professional Networking to games and dances. Of course, the many sports activities will be ongoing in two separate venues.”
“In the world, but not of the world”?
Aren’t these holiday activities similar to those who are “of the world”?

Media Director, Peter Eddington, writes, December 22nd, that a “massive print ad campaign will feature two study aids which have proved highly successful in previous advertising efforts.
These include “How to Understand the Bible” and “Heaven and Hell: What Does the Bible Really Teach?
Both of these study aids have generated very good cost-per-response in previous efforts compared to other study aids that had also been tested.
This newest promotional effort will take place using three separate coupon venues: 1) Valassis Sunday newspaper inserts will be placed in 70 million households in nearly every state. 2) M-Spark postal mail wraps, which are delivered directly into mailboxes by the postal carriers, will reach 5 million homes located mostly in the South and Midwest. 3) Parade Magazine’s Sunday newspaper insert edition will reach 5 million households in a variety of states.”

Church of God International
The Jamaican Gleaner reports that Ian Boyne (pastor of CGI Jamaica), died on Monday, 18th December, at the University Hospital of the West Indies.
While recuperating in the hospital, after suffering a heart attack on Saturday, 2nd December, the Jamaica Information Service reported: ‘“I am deeply touched by the outpouring of love from all sectors of the society,” Mr Boyne said, as he was updated on the concern expressed by many Jamaicans at home and abroad on social media and through calls to the JIS and radio stations. He was told that churches everywhere were in prayer for his recovery.
The Miracle of Ian Boyne, from The Gleaner.
Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness, Minister of Culture Olivia Grange, and Minister of Education Ruel Reid, were among the first to pay tribute to Ian Boyne

United Church of God
Gerald Weston, ‘Presiding Evangelist’ of the Living Church of God, reported in his December 14th update that, “Mr. Jim Meredith returned … from the funeral of Mr. Burk McNair, who died recently. He was a long-time Evangelist in another Church of God, but well-known to many of us, and part of the McNair clan. Jim’s mother was a McNair and sister of Burk.”
Jim’s mother was Margie McNair, wife of Roderick Meredith, who presided over the funeral of Carl McNair, Burk’s brother, in 2004.
Jonathan McNair and Rod McNair were pall-bearers at
Carl’s funeral – but Burk McNair’s funeral was not an LCG event – he was in “another” Church of God.

Burk McNair died on December 5th, aged 85.
He attained the ‘rank’ of evangelist in the Worldwide Church of God (as did his brother Raymond), and he was a pastor with UCG until his retirement in 2002.
Two other brothers, Marion and Carl, were also WCG ministers.

Victor Kubik writes: “He is the last survivor of the McNair brothers, who many of us have known over the years. He was preceded in death by his wife, Billie Sue, earlier this year. Gary Petty will officiate at his funeral this coming Sunday.
Burk McNair has a full history of faithfulness and service in the ministry. Many of us had the privilege of knowing and working with him. I had gotten to know him best in the early days of the Council of Elders and appreciated his generous and merciful spirit. He will be remembered for his love and study of God’s Word.”
The main part of the President’s update on December 7th concerned “… the need for more working space and video recording facilities. The project called for a separate video studio to be added to the south side of the current building.”
The total cost will be around 1 million dollars.
“Architectural, mechanical, electrical, plumbing and site drawings have now been completed. From these drawings, costs have been more accurately estimated to be $750,000 for construction of the building. Above and beyond the cost of construction has already been an outlay of about $35,500 for these design and architectural drawings, plus various permits.
Our members have been very generous, and the video recording studio fund now stands at just over $700,000! Thank you! So, while the amount currently in that fund is getting close to what is needed for construction, it still is not sufficient.
We have also discussed with the Council the need for contributions to equip the new recording studio with the needed lighting, cameras, audio gear and other incidental equipment. While we plan as much as possible to use existing equipment in the expanded studio, there is still the need for some updated equipment that keeps pace with new technology fitted to the new space. We calculate this to be about $200,000.”