Letter: February 8, 2013

Dear Brethren and co-workers in Christ:

Another full week of work here in Arroyo Grande.  Finalized a magazine and added additional articles to the websites, especially related to parenting and prophecy.

We continue to receive a fair amount of interest from various ones in Africa and this week sent several books to some in Kenya and Ghana.  We seem also be getting some limited attention from the Philippines.

Today, it is time to announce that we have a new magazine titled Bible  News  Prophecy.  The magazine is available for pdf download by clicking the following: Bible News Prophecy: January – March 2013.  Print options are being reviewed and hopefully should be announced shortly.

World News

Some items that you may wish to read, if you have not already done so, involved Asia this week.  The North Koreans are making provocative statements (North Korean propaganda film shows USA getting nuked; Japan has concerns.), the Chinese are exporting significant air pollution (China’s smog choking Japan), while the leader of China is attempting to reduce corruption (see China bans luxury ads in an attempt to fight corruption).  Truly the knowledge of good and evil has been in the news in Asia this week.

Church of God News

Last week’s suggested sermonette was the YouTube video Should Christians watch American football?  This, and related posts, provoked a lot of negative comments from both those in some Church of God related-groups and those once part of Church of God groups.

One pastor in what I have termed “the falling away church” went so far as to post that American tackle football is not “inherently sinful.”


It is a clear fact that the sport of American tackle football, “causes irreparable harm to many of its participants” (http://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/redskins/super-bowl-nfl-confronts-the-highest-stakes/2013/01/28/b92e1fd8-69a0-11e2-95b3-272d604a10a3_story.html) and “more than 3,800 football players have by now sued the NFL over their head injuries”  (http://www.npr.org/blogs/13.7/2013/01/31/170474149/stop-ignoring-head-trauma-turn-off-the-super-bowl).

Why a ‘Church of God’ pastor wants to tell people that this sport as inherently evil suggests that either he does not realize what really happens in American tackle football or he does not understand basic scriptures concerning loving one’s neighbor.  Those who want more information on this can either watch the YouTube video Should Christians watch American football?  or see the article Is American Football Evil?

The odd thing is that the top leader of the “falling away church” himself once wrote that a law of health was to avoid “bodily harm.”  American tackle football players are not avoiding bodily harm, and this should not be encouraged by the ministry.  But sadly, many would prefer to accept statements that the sport is not “inherently sinful” as opposed to studying the scriptures about this matter, otherwise they may have to change their “traditions” (cf. Matthew 15:7-9).

Of course, if a Church of God group was to condemn the sport like the Bible does and the late Herbert W. Armstrong actually did (see American Football Evil?) it would risk losing American members.  Yet, the Bible teaches that “we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7).  This is something for many to consider as it appears that the Continuing Church of God is more willing to condemn various sins that others seem to unwilling to.

On the other hand, no, American tackle football is not the most important subject that there is. Nor have I tried portrayed it that way.

Yet since the Bible teaches, “Cry aloud, spare not; Lift up your voice like a trumpet; Tell My people their transgression, And the house of Jacob their sins” (Isaiah 58:1), I did the YouTube video and expanded the related article.  Promoting of violence is a sin that many do not wish to acknowledge they harbor.

Notice also that the Bible teaches:

2 Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers. (2 Timothy 4:2-3)

Since the American Super Bowl is one of the most watched sporting events in the world, bringing it up the last week, in my view, was consistent with preaching the word in season.  And what word?  That Christians try to truly love their neighbor as themselves.  Sports that cause irreparable harm when played according to their own rules are inherently evil and should not be encouraged.

By the way, some have erroneously promoted the incorrect idea that I left the “falling away” COG group mainly because of its position on football–and while I did not agree with its football position, those who again want to know why I really left can read: Why Bob Thiel Left the Living Church of God.

Sabbath Services for February 9, 2013

Since most of you are not in traditional congregations, here is my suggested format for Sabbath services for February 9, 2013:

We ordered another microphone this week and continue to try to take steps to improve the YouTube videos that we make for you and others.  But, I should mention that for some reason when I watched the The Falling Away Part 2: Positions Presented by Others sermon yesterday, YouTube stopped it a couple of times for reasons unknown (we videotaped it straight through and never stopped it until it was finished).  If this happens, understand that since this YouTube is 1 hour, 8 minutes, and 44 seconds long, if it stops before then and does not automatically restart, try to go back to it at the point it stopped to watch the rest of it.

Administrative & Ecclesiastical Matters

We are compiling information on ecclesiastical matters such as baptisms, funerals, weddings, etc.  I have also consulted with various leaders in various COGs in order to determine if procedures we are developing are consistent not only with scripture, but Church of God practices.

We have also had some discussions about handling Passover as well as possible locations for the 2013 Feast of Tabernacles.  More on these subjects should be in later letters.

Brethren,although we are scattered and small, and have “little strength” (Revelation 3:8), we “can do all things through Christ who strengthens” (Philippians 4:13).

It is by God’s power that the work of proclaiming the gospel (Matthew 24:14) will be completed:

6 So he answered and said to me:

“This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel:
Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’
Says the Lord of hosts.
7 ‘Who are you, O great mountain?
Before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain!
And he shall bring forth the capstone
With shouts of “Grace, grace to it!”‘”

8 Moreover the word of the Lord came to me, saying:

9 “The hands of Zerubbabel
Have laid the foundation of this temple;
His hands shall also finish it.
Then you will know
That the Lord of hosts has sent Me to you.
10 For who has despised the day of small things?  (Zechariah 4:6-10)

Brethren, it will be those of those who are part of the Philadelphia remnant of the Church of God that will do this.  And specifically, those currently supporting, as well as those who will later support, the Continuing Church of God.

Please continue pray that God will give all of us (including me) the strength (physically and spiritually) that is needed to finish the work that He has given us to do.  Thank you for your support.


Bob Thiel, Pastor and Overseer
Continuing Church of God

Posted in Letters to the Brethren
About CCOG
The Continuing Church of God, which attempts to represent the most faithful remnant of the Philadelphia (Revelation 3:7) portion of the Church of God, bases its beliefs on the Holy Bible. Read CCOG's statement of beliefs for more information.