Think For Yourself
C.Y. from Connecticut writes, “Thanks so much for your service to God’s people. Please don’t be discouraged by complaints from those who worship at the throne of Nicolaitan hierarchy, especially those who believe that only men chosen by other men, rather than God, are allowed to study the Scriptures and write about them.
“Your efforts have prodded me to take my beliefs more seriously and to stop relying on mere men selected by other men for my ‘truths’ and beliefs. I am disappointed by friends who respond with comments such as ‘I’m no scholar’ when I challenge them to also study for themselves. One long-time church member said God honors the dictates of men who claim to be our superiors, and we do well to follow their teachings without question. I strongly disagreed.”
COMMENT: We shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ, Romans 14:10, II Corinthians 5:10. Ministers and teachers of God’s Word will not be there filling in for us. We will stand on our own. Now, more than ever before, for our spiritual well-being, we must think for ourselves.
I was pleased to attend and speak at the Jubilee 95 Seminar, in San Antonio, Texas, December 23-25, 1995. It was sponsored by Friends of the Sabbath, a group of laymen dedicated to cultivating supportive communication and continuing education, to obtain a greater appreciation of, and devotion to, one another among the community of Sabbath believers, with each contributing according to the gifts which God has granted us to accomplish His work.
Dr. Samuele Bacchiocchi was the featured speaker, joined by fifteen other speakers and panelists. Seventh-day Adventists, United Church of God, Global Church of God, Church of God, Seventh Day, and various independents were represented. There was time for discussion and questions from the audience. The theme of the seminar was “Sabbath & Holy Days in the 21st Century.” Dr. Bacchiocchi spoke on “My Search for the Sabbath at a Vatican University,” “Holy Day or Holiday,” “Divine Rest for Human Restlessness,” and “My Research on the Biblical Holy Days.” He announced his latest book, God’s Festivals in Scripture and History: Part 1, The Spring Festivals. This seminar was the second in a series of seminars sponsored by Friends of the Sabbath, the previous one being held at Dana Point, California, in May of 1995. Cassette tapes and videos of both seminars are available from: Friends of the Sabbath, 27068 La Paz #500, Laguna Hills, CA 92656.
The Friends of the Sabbath has similar purposes to the Bible Sabbath Association. The BSA concentrates on printed material in support of the seventh- day Sabbath, and co-operation among Sabbath-keepers. The Friends of the Sabbath specializes in co-operation between Sabbath-keepers through a series of lecture format seminars. We commend the work of Friends of the Sabbath. We encourage you to attend the next Friends of the Sabbath seminar in your area. During 1996, several seminars are planned for the United States, as well as Mexico and Australia. I plan to attend more than one. It is a positive development when Sabbath-keepers from different backgrounds can meet on friendly terms, get to know one another, and share ideas. Although we do not totally agree on every doctrinal point, we can and must work together in areas of commonality. In Australia, Friends of the Sabbath is promoted by our good friend, Craig White, PO Box 864, Sydney, NSW 2001.
Seventh-day Adventist, Dr. Samuele Bacchiocchi, author of the book, From Sabbath to Sunday, has researched the subject of the Biblical Holy Days for the better part of a year. The results of his study have been published in a newly released book, God’s Festivals in Scripture and History, 260 pages, published in December, 1995. This is Part I, which covers the Spring Festivals.
Bacchiocchi says, “This research has been for me full of surprising discoveries. Perhaps the greatest surprise was to discover that I was wrong in assuming that the annual Feasts came to an end with the sacrifice of Christ, simply because they were connected with the sacrificial system of the Temple. I came to realize that the continuity or discontinuity of the Feasts is determined not by their connection with the sacrificial system, but by the scope of their typology. It came as a pleasant surprise to discover that the Feasts typified not only the redemptive accomplishments of Christ’s first Advent, but also the consummation of redemption to be accomplished by Christ at His second Advent. The realization that the typology of the Feasts was initially fulfilled at Christ’s first Advent, but will be ultimately realized at His second Advent, caused me to take a fresh look at the continuity and desirability of Israel’s Festivals for the church today.”
Bacchiocchi traces the observance of the Feasts through the early Church. He says: “Practically all the books I have read dealing with the Feasts, ignore the witness of the early Church. Yet a study of the observance of the Feasts in early Christianity can help us understand what factors caused many Christians to change the Biblical Holy Days into pagan holidays. I believe that this is the area where perhaps my research makes the greatest contribution. Having spent many years of my life investigating the change from Sabbath to Sunday in early Christianity, I welcome this opportunity to extend my investigation to the change of the annual Feasts also. It is my fervent hope, that this new research on the Holy Days may enrich the worship experience of those who are willing to take time during the course of the year to celebrate the great saving acts of God. We cannot preach the whole Bible in one sermon. We cannot celebrate the whole redemption in one Sabbath. A church calendar patterned after the calendar of Israel can help to do justice to all the great saving acts of God. It provides an opportunity to experience afresh what God has done in the past, is doing in the present, and will do in the future. It enables us to take the time which God has created and offer it back to God through Jesus Christ who has redeemed it.”
Although we do not concur with all the conclusions of Dr. Bacchiocchi regarding the Holy Days, we do admire the amount of research he has amassed on this important subject. God’s Festivals in Scripture and History retails for $15.00. You may receive a copy from Giving & Sharing for a suggested donation of $9.50.
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When will we take personal responsibility for our actions? In the matter of divorce, you hear some of the most ridiculous excuses for lack of responsible behavior. Prince Charles in his 1994 biography said that he never loved Princess Diana and didn’t want to marry her. My niece recently divorced her husband, saying, “he didn’t fulfill my emotional needs.” She and her former husband immediately began dating other individuals. A well-known pastor in one of the smaller ex-Worldwide Church of God groups justified his divorce and remarriage with the excuse that Mrs. Loma Armstrong “forced” him to marry his first wife. Years later, he decided he didn’t love her, and sought other sexual activity.
Remember, the Eternal is listening to our lame excuses. Love is not a feeling, a satisfaction of our needs. Love is commitment, determination to give and serve the other. Love is the basis for God’s form of government. The family is the foundation of God’s government, where husband and wife are to love the other as much as they love themselves, and love their children more than themselves. Sacrifice, dedication, faithfulness, commitment: these are the hallmarks of Godly love in marriage and family. Let’s stop making excuses and start living God’s way. We encourage you to write for our newly revised and expanded booklet, Biblical Marriage and Family.
Christian Sabbath-keepers are planning three-day weekend camp outs for fellow believers of all affiliations, and independents. Sabbath services planned include as speakers Jim Rector, Ray Wooten, and Carl Franklin. Three camp outs are scheduled in northern Indiana and southern Michigan: May 17-19, 1996 at Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park in Freemont, Indiana; June 21-23, 1996 at Holly State Recreation Area in Holly, Michigan; and August 23-25, 1996, at Yankee Springs State Park, Middleville, Michigan. For more details, contact Sabbath Campers Fellowship, phone 810-232-2288, or Tom and Joy Moody, PO Box 520, Genesee, Michigan, 48437-0520. We encourage other brethren to institute similar fellowship.
Our 236-page book, Early Writings of Herbert W. Armstrong, is available for a suggested donation of $9.00. For 3-9 copies, the cost drops to $7.50 per copy, and for ten or more copies, $6.00 per copy. This book is a gold mine of information. We encourage small Bible Study groups to use these articles to enhance group Bible Study. The most noted Sabbath-keeping minister of the 20th Century has much to tell us, straight from the Word of the Almighty.
The January 22, 1996, issue of In Transition says that Giving & Sharing “sells books and other study materials at a discount.” The truth is, G&S does not sell anything. All our material is available on a donation basis. Our suggested donation covers our costs. As our order blank states, “If you cannot afford to send a donation, we will send an item free or on loan, as funds are available.”
Giving & Sharing, PO Box 100, Neck City, MO 64849