Giving & Sharing Newsletter 51, May 1999
In This Issue:
Order Bibles and Bible Helps Online!
One of the main purposes of Giving & Sharing for the past 21 years has been to help Sabbath-keeping brethren around the world obtain Bibles and Bible Helps at the lowest possible price. We have delivered literally tons of Bibles and books at no profit to us. In the past, this meant stocking certain items in our nonprofit bookstore, and mailing out books when they are requested, and/or direct shipping other items from one of our suppliers, such as Riverside World and Spring Arbor. Speciality items are obtained from a variety of independent publishers. We can order most religious books and music in print at discount. The normal trade discount is 40%, so with postage, this means that we can deliver most items for about 30% less than retail. With increases in postage rates, sometimes it means we lose, but brethren have been generous in making up the difference. This "old," time-consuming way of delivering to you Bibles and Bible Helps will continue into the 21st Century. Because of order backlogs, we sometimes cannot ship items even within our 4-6 week ideal timeframe.
Now, there is a better, faster, less expensive, way for us to deliver Bibles and Bible Helps to you: via the Internet (even if you don't have Internet access!). Giving & Sharing is now an associate of Amazon.com, an excellent online book, music, and audio/video supplier. Amazon ships many items within 24 hours of receiving your online order. They guarantee security when you charge books to your credit card. They ship to International locations. Amazon.com's normal discount is 30% off retail. Associates such as Giving & Sharing receive a 5-15% commission of the net amount in the form of a quarterly sales commission. Because we are non-profit, Giving & Sharing will credit you the ENTIRE AMOUNT of this extra Amazon.com sales commission, when you order through our giveshare.org website. If you have Internet access, here is how it works:
Jump to our online ordering page,www.giveshare.org/amazon/index.html. Click on the recommended Bible or other book on our pages. This takes you directly into Amazon.com's ordering page for that book or item. Add the book to your electronic shopping cart. Search for other items and add them to your shopping cart. When you are ready to check out, enter your credit card and ship to address. Amazon generally ships items by priority mail (there are several options for international customers). When you receive the books, send us your Amazon packing slip showing the amount and item(s) you received. Once or twice a year, Giving & Sharing will issue you a certificate for "G&S Credits," equal to the sales commissions we receive from Amazon on your purchases. You may use these credits (1) in place of the "suggested donation," for other items published by Giving & Sharing per our Order Blank, OR (2) to turn your credits into a USA tax-deductible donation to Giving & Sharing, just sign the G&S Credit Certificate, and return it to us. The donation amount will be added to your annual donation receipt as a tax-deductible donation.
For example, I recently ordered the Complete Jewish Bible, translated by David Stern. This excellent study Bible gives a uniquely Messianic Jewish understanding of the Bible. Ben Whitfield, Living Church of God Elder in Wyoming, highly recommends the Complete Jewish Bible. The hardcover edition retails for $39.99. Amazon.com's 30% discount resulted in a net price of $27.99, plus $3.95 for priority mail. My credit card was charged for $31.94. G&S earned 15% commission on the $27.99 net, or $4.20. Thus, $31.94 minus $4.20 G&S credit equals $27.74 delivered, or a savings of 31% off retail. This is better than the Giving & Sharing Bookstore can do the "old" way! And, I received the Bible only 2-3 days after placing my online order! Cheaper and faster, with less paperwork, now we can "give and share" a better way!
If you do not have Internet access, you can still take advantage of this new service! Just give us your credit card (VISA or MasterCard, number, and expiration date), and we will order your items for you. Unless the item is on our Order Blank, we will need the ISBN number, the International Standard Book Number, of the item(s) you wish to order. Our new Order Blanks will have the ISBN's for all our recommended Bibles, books, and tapes. If we place your online order, we will split the G&S commission from Amazon with you 50-50. You can use resulting "G&S Credits" as previously explained.
In the past, our Order Blank has stated, "we are not a book finder service." It was too difficult to respond to a request, e.g., of "a National Bible, because the one I have (published in 1965) is falling apart," since there are many items now issued by this publisher, and the item number of the 1965 edition is out of print.
With the Internet, G&S can now become a book finder! Give us as much information as possible about the Christian book or tape that you are looking for (title, author, publisher, edition, etc.). We will search Amazon.com and other online booksellers, and print and mail you several items matching your query as close as possible. Then, you may place your order through us or have us order it for you. Cost for this "book finder service" is $2.50 per occurrence. Let's say you want a Giant Print Bible with a leather cover in the New King James Version. Upon receipt of your donation of $2.50, we will find several Bibles matching this criteria, and mail you computer print outs from the Internet and/or other sources. You decide which one you want, and place your order.
Here is a secret to increasing your "G&S Credits." Items on the giveshare.org website generally produce a 15% commission (which we give back to you in "G&S Credits"). Other items you order from Amazon (that are not listed on our site) when you go through our Internet site, usually result in only a 5% commission to us (and you). If you wish to order something not listed on our site, first send us the ISBN, and if we agree with your recommendation of the item, we will add it to our site, thus increasing your G&S Credits when you order. Also, note that you may order ANY BOOK, CD, OR TAPE from Amazon.com, not only religious items. These, too, will generate G&S Credits to you. We aim to truly "give and share."
Why do you have to give us your Amazon invoice in order to get your G&S Credits? Because, to protect your privacy, Amazon tells us what our customers have ordered, but not who ordered what.
In the initial stages, I will be managing and refining this new method of delivery. Eventually, I intend to pass this responsibility on to the Earl and Wanda Lewis at our Missouri bookstore. For the time being, please send questions (or items to order for non-Internet folks), to Richard C. Nickels, 3316 Alberta Drive, Gillette, WY 82718. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. None of the online bookstores carry everything. Items G&S publishes, and items from smaller publishers, will continue to be delivered "the old way" from our bookstore. Use your G&S Credits to obtain these items.
Through Giving & Sharing's link to Amazon.com, you can order millions of titles, at discount. These are some of the items we feature: Cambridge KJV Wide Margin Bible, Interlinear Bible, Franklin Electronic Bible, Complete Jewish Bible, Bullingers Companion Bible, Moffatt Bible, Spanish (Reina-Valera)/English (KJV) Parallel Bible, KJV Bible on CD narrated by Alexander Scourby, Amplified Bible, Comparative Study Bible (KJV, NIV, NAS, Amplified), 26 Translation Bible, Strong's Exhaustive Concordance, Englishman's Hebrew Concordance, Englishman's Greek Concordance, Halley's Bible Handbook, Smith's Bible Dictionary, Nave's Topical Bible, Robertson's Harmony of the Gospels, Harmony of Samuel-Kings-Chronicles, Hislop's Two Babylons, Josephus Complete Works, Foxe's Book of Martrys, Collapse of Evolution, I Kissed Dating Goodby, Celtic Church in Britain, Truth Triumphant, Handel's Messiah, videos of The Ten Commandments, Ben-Hur, The Robe, The Hiding Place. We plan to add items to this list frequently.
Check out the Giving & Sharing Online Ordering Service today at www.giveshare.org/amazon/index.html
The Death of Truth
"Truth," said J. Horace Round, "is deemed a sadly dull and unromantic thing. It is not for truth that men seek, but for that which is pleasant to believe. Poor, ill-clad, shivering truth stands pitiful by the way - men have ever passed her by, in search of that which they desire."
It is very obvious today, that Truth is in short supply, both in, and without, the Church. The Creator, the Almighty, is a God of Truth. "I am the way," Yahshua said, "the Truth and the Life," John 14:6. He taught the way of God in Truth, Matthew 22:16, Mark 12:14. God's principles are "the way of Truth," Psalm 86:11, 119:30. Mercy and Truth are cardinal attributes of the path of the Lord, Genesis 24:27, Psalm 25:10. We are to walk before God in Truth, I Kings 2:4, I Samuel 12:24.
But today, the way of Truth is evil spoken of, II Peter 2:2. Many willingly believe what they know to be lies, "because they received not the love of the Truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie, That they all might be damned who believed not the Truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness," II Thessalonians 2:10-12. Loving the Truth is not a normal human attribute; it is a gift from the Almighty, and comes from the Spirit of Truth, John 14:15-17. The Holy Spirit guides us into all Truth, John 16:13. The primary way this works is through God's messengers, Acts 8:30-31. Certainly, those whom the Eternal calls have a responsibility to proclaim the Truth to others, and to be totally truthful and honest.
In our "post-modern" world, Truth does not exist. The majority believe that "I have my truth, and you have your truth," which is the same as saying that there is no absolute Truth. What began as the "death of God" philosophy in the 1960s, has descended to "the death of Truth." President Clinton does not admit to lying under oath, arguing over the meaning of the words, "sexual relations." Bill Gates, Chairman of Microsoft, testifying in the 1998 U.S. antitrust suit against his company, answered numerous questions curtly, saying, "I don't recall," and dissected the meanings of words such as "ask" and "compete."
In the 1973 Bronston case, the United States Supreme Court ruled that court testimony shrewdly calculated to evade, did not constitute perjury. Samuel Bronston, owner of a bankrupt company, strongly implied, falsely, that he never had a Swiss bank account. First, he denied currently having a Swiss account. Then, when asked if he ever had one, he replied that his company once did. His testimony was literally true, but certainly not "the whole truth, and nothing but the truth." Time after time since the 1973 Bronston case, liars such as William Jefferson Clinton, have successfully referred to this corrupt definition of perjury, to justify not telling the Truth. The Wall Street Journal of December 15, 1998 lamented that Congress did not overturn the Bronston decision, which has made a farce out of the American legal system. When lying in court is allowed, our entire system of justice is subverted. Actually, the Bronston decision of 1973 ranks with the Roe v. Wade decision on abortion that same year, as a crucial turning point in American moral degeneracy.
Now, we believers can look at the political world, and see some of the lying, half-truths, promulgated by politicians. However, we as a group have a much more difficult time recognizing false prophets, lying ministers, in the Church of God today. We cannot face the facts that ministers who have taught us much of God's Truth have lied to us. A politician is concerned with the next election. A statesman is concerned with the next generation.
Recent splits in the Global Church of God, the Church of God, The Eternal, the United Church of God, etc. ad nauseum, are the result mainly of Church politics, not doctrinal principles. Church politicians do not care about the next generation; they only want to stay in office and continue to be supported by the brethren. Where are Church statesmen who are concerned about the next generation? The youth in the Church are the real victims in these senseless Church splits, as their circle of young friends in the Church continues to diminish due to all the splits. The average age of the Church of God ministry is probably the late 50s, and the average age of the membership continues to grow older. A religious television message that was effective in the 1950s and 1960s has little clout today. Today's geriatric ministry does not know how to relate to young people in our post-modern society of today. They are pallbearers of the Truth of God.
Young people are often very discerning of Truth. They have not had years of being lied to, so they tend not to be jaded like many adults. A ministry that is totally open and Truthful would be like a drink of cool water on a hot day to our youth. When was the last time when you heard a sermon in which the minister illustrated his point by admitting his own sins, as an example of the consequences and wickedness of sin?
Truth is vital. All liars will have their part in the Lake of Fire, Revelation 21:8. Unless we speak and live the Truth in love, II Corinthians 6:5-6; Ephesians 4:15; I Peter 1:22; I John 2:4, 3:18, 4:6-7; II John 3; III John 1, we will be instigators in the death of the Truth.
Judge Rightous Judgment, or Judge Not?
"Judgment" is a very important subject in the Bible. Jesus said in Matthew 7:1, "Judge not, that ye be not judged." Yet our Savior also said to those who had judged him wrongly for healing a man on the Sabbath, John 7:24, "Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment." In I Corinthians 6:1-5, Paul admonished the Church in Corinth to judge among themselves rather than take each other to court. On the one hand, we are told not to judge; on the other hand we are commanded to judge. Since the Bible does not contradict itself, there must be two different kinds of judging. The word for "judge" in all three cases is the same Greek word, krino, Strong's #2919.
As it sometimes happens in the English language, a particular word in the Greek can have positive and negative connotations, depending upon how it is used. Jesus in Matthew 7:1 is speaking of condemnation judging. In the same section, the Sermon on the Mount, in 5:22, the Messiah said that we are not to call our brother "Raca (a fool, a vain fellow)," or we would be in danger of the judgment. Spiritually judging someone, thinking to determine whether or not they will receive the gift of eternal life, is Christ's job, not ours, John 5:22. Revelation is full of the judging acts of Jesus, Revelation 6:10, 11:18, 18:8, 20, 19:2, 11, 20:12-13. That is why krino is sometimes translated "condemn," as in John 3:17. Luke 6:36-37 explains that we are to be merciful, and "Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven."
Another meaning of krino is "to discern, to make a decision." This is what John 7:24 and I Corinthians 6 are talking about. We have to make judgments about whom we will fellowship with, how to keep the Sabbath, what to do with problems in the Church, and many other aspects of our daily lives in Christ.
In this life, and especially in the Church, we have a responsibility to judge, to discern, to render a decision as to what we will do relative to Churches and organizations. I Timothy 3 lists ten qualifications for an elder. If an elder does not meet these qualifications, he is to be rejected as an elder. Upon repentance, we are to accept him back into the congregation as a brother in the faith. John tells us to "try the spirits," I John 4:1. The Church of Ephesus, unlike some indulgent believers today, could not bear them which are evil, and tried their leaders, finding and rejecting some who were liars, Revelation 2:2.
In the New Testament, elders are not political figures. Rather, they are spiritual leaders. Like the Levites of the Old, they have to meet certain requirements (not guilty of fithy lucre, not a drunkard, etc.). These qualifications are far beyond the requirements for political leaders. You cannot have a religious leader continue to present God's Truth to the world if he is full of blame from a public heinous sin. He must be "blameless, the husband of one wife," etc. If wicked men are allowed to be spiritual leaders, God's message is destroyed, and cannot be effective in reaching out to the unconverted.
If a religious leader commits great public sins, he is to be removed from office, permanently. But, upon repentance, he is to be accepted back into the Church as a lay person. Lying religious leaders of today refuse to resign in disgrace. They have not yet repented of their sins. It is the responsibility of each person in the Church today to be a modern Phineas, zealous for God, to make the proper judgment (discernment), and urge others not to support unqualified religious leaders. We must pray for those in authority, even though they should not be in any authority at all, and are disqualified from being in their office. WE MUST NOT SUPPORT EVIL RULERS, civil or religious.
A person who has a condemning, judging, attitude never forgives. He consigns the sinner to gehenna fire in his mind. However, condemnation is Christ's prerogative, not ours. Saul, Solomon, Herbert Armstrong, and Joseph Tkach senior apparently died during a period when their lives were not exemplary as spiritual examples. I hope and pray that Jesus will mercifully judge them, and I fear to speculate what His decision will be.
Today, we individually have the God-given command to judge whether or not we will support various religious leaders. Christ said we should forgive our brother who sins against us seventy times seven, Matthew 18:21-22. It would be a test of our faith to see a Church leader resign due to his public sins, repent, and request re-admission to our fellowship. Would we react mercifully or with a condemning spirit? Condemning someone else does not make us righteous, Job 40:8. However, sinners are not to be in the congregation of the righteous, Psalm 1:5. "The mouth of the righteous speaketh wisdom, and his tongue talketh of judgment," Psalm 37:30. Again, "He that saith unto the wicked, Thou art righteous: him shall the people curse, nations shall abhor him," Proverbs 24:24.
There is much to pray for in the Church of God today. Let us pray for leaders who are unqualified and need to come to repentance. Let us pray for individual members to come to their senses and make Godly judgments and not be blind followers of the blind. Let us stand up to sin, and condemn the sin, but not the sinner!
RAP (Rabid Anti-Protestant) rhetoric is a term used by Ron Dart several months ago in a post on the Likeminds Forum and has been making the rounds since. Ron used the term in reference to the tendency of many of those associated with the various Church of God groups to react radically to comments, phrases, or activities which may be commonly associated with Protestant beliefs and/or practices. According to Dart, often nothing may be particularly wrong with the belief itself, other than just being so associated that it tends to be construed as a "Protestant" idea and thus rejected as "too Protestant."
Dart may have already caved in to Protestant theology. If so, it makes sense that Dart would accuse others of being rabidly anti-Protestant. As reported in the Journal, after decades in the Church of God, Dart still cannot decide whether or not it is right for Church members to join the military. The Church of God (Seventh Day) was opposed to participation in the American Civil War, while James White of the SDA's counseled Church members to go ahead and fight! Liberals call some of their opponents "extreme right wingers," but in a liberal's opinion, one cannot be an "extreme liberal." If I wanted to remain a Protestant, I would have stayed in the Baptist church. But because my Baptist pastor was rabidly Protestant, and attacked Armstrong's anti-trinitarianism from the pulpit, I severed my membership in the Baptist Church in the early 1960s. There is a great charge to go back to Protestant theology, which is more attractive to the unconverted mind than what the Bible really says. After all, it is not politically correct to be "rabid" about anything!
The real news in the Church of God today, is NOT the "old news" of the doctrinal departure of the Worldwide Church of God. It is the growing trend towards discarding Biblical Truth, especially among the Independents. The apostasy has only yet begun! The same old tactics are being used. Joe Tkach often crafted a "straw man," an extremely bigoted person who does not exist, in order to ridicule ideas he was attacking. Hey, if all Sabbath-keepers are Archie Bunker type bigots, why don't we get rid of this horrid "legalism" and bask in the liberty of Christ?
An inspired "rabid anti-Pharisee" speech was given by a man named Stephen, and recorded in Acts 7:1-53. Before Stephen finished, his opponents were gnashing their teeth, almost foaming at the mouth, verse 54. This was not a "Born to Win" speech, because Stephen called a spade a spade, and shortly thereafter, paid for it with his life.
And, yet, Stephen's apology is one of the most kind, loving, compassionate, and caring speeches of all time. Stephen loved those Christ-rejecting Pharisees. He loved them enough to tell them to repent and turn to the Almighty. His crescendo is far greater than the famous finale of "The War of 1812 Overture": "Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Spirit: as your fathers did, so do ye. Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? And they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers: Who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it," Acts 7:51-53.
The seeds of Stephen's speech were sowed in the heart of a hard-bitten Pharisee, Saul of Tarsus, Acts 8:1. And, in God's time and purpose, that rabid speech bore fruit on the road to Damascus. It is ok to be rabid, if you are zealous for the Eternal's Truth like Stephen. If the True Gospel is fluff and bedtime stories, then I might as well have stayed in the Baptist Church, and continued to listen to my rabid Protestant minister who was incensed by someone attacking the Trinity doctrine. Could it be that Stephen's defense needs to be delivered to the Church of God, today?
Moslem Terror Strikes Again
We are all familiar with the story of Jonah. God told Jonah to go and warn Nineveh, but Jonah tried to run from God. He ended up being swallowed by a great fish, and was spit up on the shores of the Black Sea, whereupon Jonah walked to Nineveh and delivered the message from the Eternal. When Nineveh repented, Jonah sulked, because he wanted the Assyrians, enemies of Israel, to be destroyed. Shame on Jonah! But, are we any better?
Consider the possibility that the Almighty today tells you to go to a Moslem country such as Saudi Arabia, to openly proclaim the Gospel of the Kingdom of God, calling Moslems to repent and believe in the Messiah and His sacrifice for our sins. Such a calling from God would be frightening. To respond to such a call would take more than the faith of Abraham. You would have to know, and know that you know, that the Eternal was behind you, or you would face near certain torture and death.
Dave Hunt writes in the April, 1999, issue of The Berean Call, "The Islamic Curtain separating Muslim countries from the rest of the world is every bit as impenetrable as the Iron Curtain ever was . . . . In Saudi Arabia, for example, which Americans died to protect, there is a total blackout on anything Christian; one cannot carry a Bible on the street, or have a Bible study in the privacy of one's own home. Even in our embassy, over which the American flag flies, Christian church services are banned. It is officially the death penalty in Saudi Arabia and some other Muslim countries (and enforced unofficially elsewhere) for a Muslim to convert to any other religion."
Muslims freely worship and build mosques in the Western world, where they are the fastest growing religion, but there is no such freedom for Christians in Moslem countries. The amazing thing is that women here are portraying Islam as a joyful and peace loving faith. Yet, in a Muslim country like Saudi Arabia, they would likely have to be veiled, could not drive a car, could be one of four wives habitually mistreated by their husband, who could divorce them by his mere denunciation. Hillary Clinton, the National Organization of Women (NOW), and other outspoken champions of women's rights are strangely silent about Islam's notorious abuse of women.
The Voice of the Martyrs routinely relates news reports of persecution and abuse of Christians in Muslim countries. Saleema, a young lady in Pakistan, recently shared her faith to a friend, who subsequently became a Christian. Her friend was hailed into court by her own parents, convicted of blasphemy, and stoned to death. Now, Saleema is being indicted for murder. Her "crime" is that she converted her friend to Christianity, thus causing her friend's death for conversion to the forbidden faith.
Nageena, a seven-year-old Pakistani Christian girl, was raped by four Muslim men in her village. Nageena's Christian parents pressed charges against the rapists. Numerous witnesses courageously stepped forward to identify the four men at the scene of the crime. Nevertheless, they were released and the charges dismissed for lack of evidence. Nageena's father, Ghulam Masih, outraged, continued to seek justice, and was eventually rewarded with $300 compensation from the Human Rights Ministry. A few days later, Ghulam himself was arrested, charged with murdering an elderly woman. His accusers were the four men who raped his daughter. As reported in the UK Sunday Times, Mushtaq Ahmed, the inspector who released the rapists of Nageena, personally supervised a severe beating of Ghulam Masih. He admitted that he released the rapists because they were Muslims and the victim was Christian. "My first duty is to Islam. The courts will take a similar view, and Ghulam Masih will be hanged. You will see."
We Sabbath-keepers in rich Western countries live in a dream world. The reality of the worldwide persecution of believers doesn't easily sink into our consciousness. This struck home to me personally via the Internet. We have recently responded to two requests for free Bibles, one from China and one from Iran. The Bible we sent to China made it through to a computer student in Manchuria. However, the one to Iran, in their native language of Farsi, did not make it through. I received this chilling E-mail:
". . . about that student that requested a Farsi Bible: probably he is M. J., one of my friends who guided me to Christianity. Unfortunately he apparently recalled other students to the beauty of the Christ love, and this was very dangerous here! Thus after the controlling of his E-mails, agents of Islamic fundamentalist regime suspended his E-mail account and fined him to pay $72.50, and to be whipped and he was deprived one educational term.
"But about Farsi Bible, I saw him a few days ago and I wanted to borrow a Farsi Bible of him. He had not got any Farsi Bible and he told that he requested a Farsi Bible a few months ago but it was censored by regime agents and he wanted to request an English one from you and then he gave me an E-mail address. I would like to receive a Farsi Bible, but it will be probably censored. Thus please send me a French one, or if it is not accessible, please send an English one. Yours Sincerely, M. J. [name abbreviated for his safety]."
While rich western Sabbath-keepers argue and pick at one another on Internet forums, there are people out there who really value the word of God, and want to read a Bible for themselves. Perhaps the only way to get Bibles to them is to personally take it to them in your luggage. Should the Eternal lead any of our readers to do so, we will gladly help supply Bibles for delivery into restricted countries. Remember Jonah. If God tells you to do something like this, running from God is useless. Moslem terror or not, we are told to "GO!" Matthew 28:19-20.
Why the Protestant Reformation Failed
The Bible Sabbath Association's twelfth tract, "Why the Protestant Reformation Failed!" by Frank M. Walker, is adapted from a tract by Raymond Clark.
Sabbath-keeper Carlstadt argued with Martin Luther over the Sabbath question. When the Protestant Reformation was poised to take over all of Europe, the Sabbath question became its undoing. Catholics were ready to give up centuries of tradition and follow the Bible only, until they realized that the majority of Protestants were insincere. The Protestant claim to follow the Bible only was untrue, since they too kept Sunday, in deference to Catholic tradition. The tide was turned at the Council of Trent (A.D. 1545-1565). When the Archbishop of Reggio showed that Sunday was authorized, not by the Bible, but by tradition, and that Protestants were hypocritical by not following their own slogan, "the Bible only." Single copies of the 8-page tract, "Why the Protestant Reformation Failed!" are free. One hundred copies are available for a donation of $15.00 from The Bible Sabbath Association, 3316 Alberta Drive, Gillette, WY 82718.
- written by Richard C. Nickels