|Live Services||"The Goal" and "Let There Be Light"|
|Editorial||Whom Are We To Believe?|
|Q&A||Please explain Christ's sayings in Matthew 23:8-10.|
|The Work||Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock|
"The Goal" and "Let There Be Light"
On Saturday, April 26, 2008, is the Last Day of Unleavened Bread. Dave Harris will give the sermon in the morning, titled, “The Goal.” Norbert Link will give the sermon in the afternoon, titled, “Let There Be Light!”
The services can be heard at www.cognetservices.org at 9:00 am and 12:30 pm Pacific Time (which is 11:00 am and 2:30 pm Central Time). Just click on Connect to Live Stream.
Whom Are We To Believe?
by Norbert Link
In a recent StandingWatch program, I discussed the error of the transubstantiation dogma, which holds that during the “Eucharist,” the bread and the wine change into the very body and blood of Jesus Christ (see StandingWatch, Google Video and YouTube). I showed from the Bible the utter absurdity of that belief. Knowing fully well how controversial this subject is, I was not too surprised when some viewers expressed very strongly their disagreement with the program. After all, I read several years ago a discussion by a Catholic priest, stating that the dogma of the transubstantiation is the most important difference between the Catholic and the Protestant Church (which does not believe it), currently preventing total unification of the two denominations.
The “arguments,” especially those sent in to YouTube and supportive of Catholic teaching, were quite interesting. One viewer wrote:
“For 2,000 years the Catholic Church has always believed in Christ’s real presence in the Eucharist. This has only been rejected during the past 500 years by the Protestants (who get their name from their protest of the Catholic Church which Christ established as His Church on Earth, ‘One Lord, one Faith, one Baptism’ -see Bible)…”
Another viewer stated:
“Jesus said to him in reply, ‘Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven… Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven’ Matt 16:18.”
I began to wonder–do those “arguments” convince anyone? Sadly, many accept them, reasoning as follows: The Pope is Peter’s successor (which he is not), and so, whatever he “binds” on earth is bound in heaven. If he declares that the bread and the wine change into the body and blood of Christ–regardless of how unbiblical this assertion may be–it is “bound” and has to be believed. And since–allegedly–the Catholic Church has believed this for 2,000 years, it has to be true.
Of course, we should know that none of these arguments are correct. Christ did not give ANY MAN the license to change or abolish God’s law, or to teach something which is contradicted in Scripture. The early Christian Church did NOT believe in the dogma of the transubstantiation for Biblical reasons; see our recent Q&A on this question.
But the real issue runs much deeper. The core of the matter affects all of us. And that profound truism is simply this: NO MAN has the right to add to or to delete from Biblical teaching. Christ said that we worship Him IN VAIN when we teach or believe as doctrines the commandments of men. He said that we are spiritually blind if we do away with the commandments of God so that we can uphold our own tradition.
We should not be fooled by nice-sounding statements in the press, as reported by USA Today on April 19, that the “Pope urges all Christians to ‘hold fast’ to scripture.” That is NOT what the pope said. The article itself clarified that the pope said that “our actions” must be “consistent with Scripture and TRADITION.”
But what about “tradition”?
When Catholics and Protestants claim that we must uphold the “tradition” of worshipping on Sunday–even though the Bible clearly commands us to “remember the SABBATH day to keep IT holy”–we are reminded of Christ’s stern warning not to worship Him in vain. When people replace the worship of God on His annual Holy Days with the tradition of worshipping Him on humanly devised holidays which originated in paganism, then they are told by Christ that they worship God in vain. And NO MAN can do away with that condemnation of our Lord and Savior!
The Pharisees at the time of Jesus followed their tradition of placing heavy burdens on the people–by adding restrictions and injunctions which were not found in Scripture. Christ condemned them for that. Today is not much different. We are told by religious leaders to do this and not to do that–but are those instructions based on the Holy Bible? If they are NOT, we are NOT bound to obey–in fact, we may be instructed by GOD, NOT to obey.
Most people don’t think that far. They are content with what “their” church or “their” minister might teach them. But this is NOT sufficient in the eyes of God. We ourselves must be totally convinced in our own minds of WHAT we believe–and WHY. Our conviction must be based on God’s Word, and NOT on human tradition. After all, we are told to obey GOD rather than man. And IF we embrace and continue to follow God’s truth, then we WILL inherit the crown of righteousness when Christ returns–and NO MAN will be able to take that crown away from us.
This Week in the News
Food Rationing in the USA–and Around the World
The New York Sun reported on April 21:
“Many parts of America, long considered the breadbasket of the world, are now confronting a once unthinkable phenomenon: food rationing. Major retailers in New York, in areas of New England, and on the West Coast are limiting purchases of flour, rice, and cooking oil as demand outstrips supply. There are also anecdotal reports that some consumers are hoarding grain stocks…
“Spiking food prices have led to riots in recent weeks in Haiti, Indonesia, and several African nations. India recently banned export of all but the highest quality rice, and Vietnam blocked the signing of a new contract for foreign rice sales… For now, rice is available at Asian markets in California, though consumers have fewer choices when buying the largest bags…”
The Washington Times wrote on April 23:
“Farmers and food executives appealed fruitlessly to federal officials yesterday for regulatory steps to limit speculative buying that is helping to drive food prices higher. Meanwhile, some Americans are stocking up on staples such as rice, flour and oil in anticipation of high prices and shortages spreading from overseas. Their pleas did not find a sympathetic audience at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), where regulators said high prices are mostly the result of soaring world demand for grains combined with high fuel prices and drought-induced shortages in many countries… Costco and other grocery stores in California reported a run on rice, which has forced them to set limits on how many sacks of rice each customer can buy. Filipinos in Canada are scooping up all the rice they can find and shipping it to relatives in the Philippines, which is suffering a severe shortage that is leaving many people hungry…
“Food economists testifying at a daylong hearing of the commission said the doubling of rice and wheat prices in the past year is a result of strong income growth in China, India and other Asian countries, where people entering the middle class are buying more food and eating more meat. Farm animals consume a substantial share of the world’s grain… In addition, the diversion of one-third of the U.S. corn crop into making ethanol for vehicles has increased prices for corn and other staples such as soybeans and cotton as more acreage is set aside for ethanol production… “
Der Spiegel Online wrote on April 23:
“Vast amounts of money are flooding the world’s commodities markets, driving up prices of staple foods like wheat and rice. Biofuels and droughts can’t fully explain the recent food crisis — hedge funds and small investors bear some responsibility for global hunger…
“Jim Rogers, the former business partner of legendary financier and philanthropist George Soros, is perhaps the best-known investor in broad-based commodity funds… now Rogers… is warning: ‘Unless something happens soon, we will see people not getting any food at all, at any price. This is the sort of thing we read about in history books, but now I’m afraid that it could happen again.'”
CNN added on April 24:
“Retail chain Sam’s Club will limit the sale of large quantities of rice amid a dramatic increase in the global price of rice… Sam’s Club — a division of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. — has 593 wholesale locations in the United States and more than 100 abroad, in countries such as Brazil, Canada, China and Mexico. Food prices have soared worldwide in recent months, leading to violence in some developing countries. ‘In just two months,’ World Bank President Robert Zoellick said this month, ‘rice prices have skyrocketed to near historical levels, rising by around 75 percent globally and more in some markets, with more likely to come.'”
The Los Angeles Times stated on April 24:
“This week, Costco said it had seen sales of flour, rice and some cooking oils leap. Some Costco stores already have held customers to just two bags of rice a day, but the chain doesn’t plan to limit sales nationwide. By midafternoon Wednesday, the Costco in Alhambra — which had not placed limits on purchases — said it had run out of rice… Prices for many foods, including beer, bread, coffee, pizza and rice, are rising rapidly as the nation contends with its worst bout of food inflation since 1990. The cost of groceries is climbing at an annual rate of about 5% this year.”
“Japan’s Hunger Becomes a Dire Warning for Other Nations”
The age.com.au wrote on April 21:
“Japan’s acute butter shortage, which has confounded bakeries, restaurants and now families across the country, is the latest unforeseen result of the global agricultural commodities crisis… A 130% rise in the global cost of wheat in the past year… has forced the Government to hit flour millers with three rounds of stiff mark-ups. The latest — a 30% increase this month — has given rise to speculation that Japan, which relies on imports for 90% of its annual wheat consumption, is no longer on the brink of a food crisis, but has fallen off the cliff. According to one government poll, 80% of Japanese are frightened about what the future holds for their food supply. Last week, as the prices of wheat and barley continued their relentless climb, the Japanese Government discovered it had exhausted its ¥230 billion ($A2.37 billion) budget for the grains with two months remaining. It was forced to call on an emergency ¥55 billion reserve to ensure it could continue feeding the nation.”
Effect of Weak U.S. Dollar on Europe
The Telegraph wrote on April 19:
“Jean-Claude Juncker, the EU’s ‘Mr Euro’, has given the clearest warning to date that the world authorities may take action to halt the collapse of the dollar… Mr Juncker, who doubles as Luxembourg premier and chair of eurozone financiers, told the Luxembourg press that he had been invited to the White House last week just before the G7 at the urgent request of President George Bush. The two leaders discussed the dangers of rising ‘protectionism’ in Europe. Mr Juncker warned that matters could get out of hand unless America took steps to halt the slide in the dollar…
“David Woo, currency chief at Barclays Capital, said the Europeans and Americans are talking past each other… Washington is happy to watch the dollar slide… While Germany and Holland have prospered under the strong euro, most of southern Europe and Ireland is in trouble… The European Commission’s economists fear that the loss of competitiveness against Germany over the last decade may have passed the point of no return.”
German Viewpoint on American Presidential Election
Der Spiegel Online reported on April 23 about the elections in Pennsylvania, as follows:
“Democratic voters just can’t make up their minds between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. In Pennsylvania, they denied him victory but spared her defeat. It will be the job of the superdelegates to commit political murder — but will it mean suicide for the party? After the confetti has been shaken out of the hair and the party balloons have deflated, what is left from Tuesday’s election night is a disturbing message: There is nothing to celebrate.
“The winner is the loser. But the loser is not the winner. Clinton’s victory was not big enough to snatch the nomination from Obama. But neither was his star power enough to woo the voters in the center… He was handed a defeat when he needed a victory, and she secured a victory when only an improbable triumph would have helped her. Barring a miracle, Clinton’s role at the Democratic Party convention in Denver in August will be limited to guest speaker. But Obama will go into the actual presidential election badly damaged…
“Obama’s chances of a successful run for the White House are anything but rosy… The party seems to be cursed in this primary season, as if Obama’s supporters and Clinton’s fans had sealed a diabolical pact. They refuse him victory but spare her defeat. But this game is approaching its terrible end. The superdelegates, who are independent from the party base, will have to commit a political murder in the coming months. Will it be Obama or Clinton? For the party, the decision could amount to political suicide.”
Flu Vaccines Rarely Effective
Foodconsumer.org reported on April 20:
“If you got [a] flu shot and still came down with the flu symptoms like fever, cough and running nose, you should not be alone. A study released last week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the effectiveness of this year’s vaccine was estimated at only 44 percent, The New York Times reported. What’s gone wrong with the vaccine then? According to the Times, what makes it so hard for a vaccine to effectively prevent the flu is that the virus changes from year to year and experts would have to GUESS what forms of virus will be circulating for the next flu season based on the current year… this year they guessed it wrong and made many recipients miserable…
“In an article published in 2004 by the Center for Medical Consumers, which is a not-for-profit organization that does not accept any funding from the drug industry, Maryann Napoli, the staff writer for the Center, explains why flu vaccine is rarely effective. It is commonly known that flu viruses change from year to year… But what is not as commonly known is that the vaccine is more likely to be effective against the type that causes fewer than 15 percent of all flu cases…
“Flu vaccine has proved to be a controversial issue. Critics said that the recommendation for the vaccine is not justified based on both the severity of the flu and the efficacy of the vaccine. Official reports project that deaths from the flu can be as many as 36,000 a year. But critics said that the death toll includes both deaths from the flu and pneumonia. The actual number of [deaths] for any given year may not exceed 300.”
Pope: “Hold Fast to Scripture… and Tradition!”
On April 19, USA Today published an article with the headline, “Pope urges all Christians to ‘hold fast’ to scripture.” However, the article itself clarified that the pope did not just refer to “scripture.” It was stated:
“Pope Benedict XVI met with leaders of other Christian faiths on Friday evening, telling them that only by ‘holding fast’ to sound doctrinal teaching can they confront secular ideology and the individualism that ‘undermines or even rejects transcendent truth.’… the pope talked about… unity in belief in the Holy Trinity — God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit… Benedict warned of the damage done when people give up on the fractured voices of Christianity and turn instead to beliefs that are not always based on scripture and tradition. The pope also criticized Christian communities that bypass unified action ‘choosing instead to function according to the idea of “local options'”— a phrase often invoked by those who want to reform church teachings even if the wider church won’t follow. He warned against actions that are ‘not always consonant with … Scripture and Tradition,’…”
The Austrian Internet publication, News Online, reported that the pope challenged interpretations especially in Protestant churches, stating that individual belief systems and interpretations “must not be allowed” to sabotage the gospel.
Orthodox and Catholic Churches Are Allies
The Catholic News Agency, CNA, reported on April 24:
“Bishop Hilarion, the Russian Orthodox Bishop of Vienna and Austria, has said in an interview that the Orthodox and Catholic Churches are allies who could form a strategic alliance to defend Christian values… The bishop said that ‘romantic ecumenism,’ which he said characterizes the World Council of Churches and the Conference of European Churches, is not viable. He said that many Protestants have created a ‘light version of Christianity, without apostolic succession, without sacraments, without strict dogmatic teaching and what is also important they don’t require sticking to Christian moral norms.’… He said this version of Christianity had stopped recognizing centuries-old sins, and now even promotes them.
“Bishop Hilarion’s statement comes just days after Pope Benedict addressed an ecumenical gathering in New York where he also denounced versions of Christianity that contradict apostolic teachings. At the gathering of about 300 people, the Pope said that Christian churches which change their beliefs by so-called ‘prophetic actions,’ often use a method of interpretation that is inconsistent with Scripture and Tradition…
“[He] added that this causes those interested in Christianity to become ‘understandably confused about the Gospel message itself’ because they see Christians splintering and disagreeing about the beliefs of the faith… Bishop Hilarion said a joint Orthodox-Catholic ‘front’ is necessary to oppose both the challenges of secularism and dialogue with other world religions. Bilateral, strategic partnerships between the two Churches, he thought, would be the best way to achieve this. ‘I don’t mean union, administrative merger or compromise in theological teaching, I mean strategical partnership,’ said Bishop Hilarion, who is also the Russian Orthodox Church Representative to European International Organizations.”
Pope Backs U.S. Catholic Clergy
Even though he showed sympathy for sexual abuse victims of Catholic priests, Pope Benedict XVI “has offered support to America’s clergy during his visit,” according to an article in The Associated Press of April 19. The article continued:
“He said priests who had done nothing wrong had been unfairly tarred by the crisis. More than 4,000 clergy have been accused of molesting minors in the U.S. since 1950. Abuse-related costs have surpassed $2 billion in that period, with much of the payouts in just the last six years. But most of the recent claims concern wrongdoing that occurred decades ago. At the height of the scandal, which erupted in 2002 with the case of one predator in the Archdiocese of Boston, the shame was so intense that some priests took off their clergy collars before going out in public. Benedict compared their suffering to ‘Christ in his Passion.'”
Strange “Image” Appears in Florida Hospital
Coinciding with the Pope’s visit in the USA, a bizarre report emerged about an unexplained image in a hospital in Florida. Local6.com stated on April 15:
“A crowd inside the Florida Hospital Medical Complex in Orlando snapped photos of the image apparently showing the profile of Jesus Christ crying… Cruzada, who was one of several viewers to send an e-mail about the image to Local6.com, said his ex-wife was recently diagnosed with stage-3 cancer. ‘This was just a sign for me to not worry about what is going on in my life and that everything else is under control,’ Cruzada said. ‘It was an enlightening experience.’… A viewer said the image caused ‘a commotion’ in the hallway near the prayer garden. The hospital is calling it an unexplained image. An official said as long as the image makes people feel good, that is all that matters… Witnesses said after a few hours, the image vanished.”
If the above picture is not just a hoax, but “real,” then it most certainly would not portray the face of Christ, but might be described as a “lying wonder.” We can expect more and more of such “manifestations” or better “apparitions” to occur in the near future. For more information, please read our free booklet, “The Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord.”
“Sarkozy Has Lost All Credibility on Human Rights”
Der Spiegel Online reported on April 23 about German reactions to French President Sarkozy’s latest course of conduct towards China. The magazine stated:
“The left-wing Die Tageszeitung writes: ‘A few calls for a boycott of a French supermarket in China were enough to cause President Nicolas Sarkozy’s commitment to human rights to falter badly. … Naturally it’s easy to talk about freedom when there are no important economic interests at stake. But if it is about civil rights in the giant market that is China, then it is considerably more difficult to stick to big principles.’… The left-leaning Berliner Zeitung writes: ‘… Sarkozy has maneuvered himself into a position of weakness, where it is now possible to blackmail him… Money matters more than the Olympic honor. What an abysmal overture to France’s leadership of Europe.'”
New EU Treaty Good for Europe?
Der Spiegel Online reported on April 24:
“The German parliament has voted by a large majority in favor of the European Union Reform Treaty… The ratification process in Germany will not be complete until the upper house of parliament, the Bundesrat, passes it on May 23. Then President Horst Köhler will have to sign it.
“During the two-hour debate before the vote, German Chancellor Angela Merkel described the Reform Treaty as a ‘great project.’ She said that the agreement was a ‘solid basis’ for overcoming stalemate and blockades. ‘The new treaty is good for Europe.’ The treaty in its current form was negotiated during Germany’s EU presidency last year, and was agreed to by all EU nations last October in Lisbon.
“It is due to come into force on January 1, 2009 after formal ratification by all 27 member states. Ireland is the only country that is holding a referendum on the treaty.”
California’s Battle With Spanking
CNSNews reported on April 18:
“The issue of spanking has again surfaced in California, where members of the California Assembly’s Public Safety Committee voted 5-2 on Tuesday to advance a bill that would define the use of switches or paddles to be child abuse and subject anyone convicted under the statute to face a possible year in jail. The bill, AB 2943, is sponsored by Assemblywoman Sally Lieber (D-Mountain View), the same lawmaker who made national headlines last year for her proposal to totally ban spanking in California, even in people’s homes…
“This year, however, Lieber is quietly proposing a bill that would continue to allow spanking with the hand for children older than three but would ban parents from using ‘implements’ to punish children. Lieber defines ‘implements’ as ‘sticks, rods, switches, electrical cords, belts, brooms, or shoes.’
“Pro-family conservative groups are up in arms, saying the bill would criminalize wooden spoons and rolled-up newspapers. ‘AB 2943 will result in good parents being arrested, handcuffed, and charged with criminal child abuse,’ said Randy Thomasson, president of the Campaign for Children and Families (CCF), a California-based pro-family conservative organization.
“Outraged parents, like Sacramento-area mom Sarah Berke, gave lawmakers an earful at a public hearing held Tuesday before the vote. ‘As someone dead-set against the evil of child abuse, I also have a strong faith that calls on me to correct misbehavior and rebellion when it occurs,’ Berke said. ‘This means a spanking once in a while. My faith and moral beliefs teach me to “train up a child in the way he should go”‘… Using a wooden spoon in a medicinal, loving manner to discipline, she said, is not child abuse…
“The nation’s leading researchers who have studied spanking – professors Robert Larzelere and Murray Straus – are split on the question of whether all corporal punishment should be banned. But both… agree on one thing: Spanking in itself is not child abuse.”
Please explain Christ's sayings in Matthew 23:8-10.
Let us read the entire context of Christ’s sayings. Christ introduced the topic in reference to the scribes and the Pharisees (verse 2), but His application of His words were obviously much broader. He said, beginning in verse 6:
“They love the best places at feasts, the best seats in the synagogues, greetings in the marketplaces, and to be called by men, ‘Rabbi, Rabbi.’ But you, do not be called ‘Rabbi’; for One is your Teacher [Leader], the Christ, and you are all brethren. Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. And do not be called teachers [better: masters or leaders]; for One is your Teacher, the Christ. But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
Many of those commentaries which discuss this passage–and which don’t just ignore it–conclude that these passages deny hierarchical government in the church. They conclude that Christ was teaching that all brethren are “equal” in the sense that they can decide for themselves what to do, where to worship, and whom to follow. This is, however, not what Christ was saying. It is very clear, from other passages, that there is a difference in ranks and functions in the Church of God–both in regard to the relationship between ordained ministers, deacons and members, and in regard to ministers among themselves (compare Ephesians 4:11-16; 1 Corinthians 12:28-29).
What Christ was addressing, however, was the danger of becoming proud, by accepting lofty and inappropriate religious titles. For instance, the word “Rabbi” means, “my great one” (“The New Bible Commentary–Revised”). Christ emphasized the fact that even though He bestowed on His ministry certain functions and responsibilities toward “feeding” the flock, the ministers are to understand that they are not in any way “better” than others; in fact, that they are to look at others “better” than themselves [compare Philippians 2:3]; that it is God who has given them such responsibilities; that they don’t “deserve” or are “entitled” to such functions, and that they are “nothing” in comparison with God the Father and Jesus Christ.
Far too many ministers, including those in some Church of God organizations, have allowed themselves to become proud and to be filled with self-aggrandizement–whether or not they accept lofty religious titles–and Christ warns that this kind of an attitude will cause their ultimate downfall. Christ specifically said that ministers are not to exercise “lordship” over the flock [Luke 22:24-26; compare 1 Peter 5:3]; and that they must not accept “superior” religious designations and titles which are reserved for God–including titles such as “the Anointed One,” “the Lawgiver” “the Prophet,” “Doctor of Divinity,” “His Holiness,” “Father” or even “Holy Father.” The title “Reverend” should not be used by God’s ministers, either, as the Bible uses this word ONLY in reference to God (compare Psalm 111:9, Authorized Version). The same is true for the term, “Holy Father,” which is exclusively used for God (compare John 17:11).
We need to note too, that Christ told His disciples not to BE called “Rabbi” or “Master,” but He went a step further and instructed them not to EVEN CALL another human being “our Father.”
Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible states the following:
“Christ’s ministers must not affect the name of Rabbi or Master… to covet or accept the honour which they have that are in kings’ palaces… They must not assume the authority and dominion implied in those names; they must not be magisterial, nor domineer over their brethren, or over God’s heritage, as if they had dominion over the faith of Christians: what they received of the Lord, all must receive from them; but in other things they must not make their opinions and wills a rule and standard to all other people, to be admitted with an implicit obedience… Christ is our Master, our Teacher, our Guide… the great Prophet, whom we must hear, and be ruled and overruled by; whose word must be an oracle and a law to us… And if he only be our Master, then for his ministers to set up for dictators, and to pretend to a supremacy and an infallibility, is a daring usurpation of that honour of Christ which he will not give to another…
“The fathers of our flesh must be called fathers, and as such we must give them [respect]; but God only must be allowed as the Father of our spirits… Our religion must not… depend upon, any man… Paul calls himself a Father to those whose conversion he had been an instrument of [1 Corinthians 4:15; Philemon 1:10] but he uses that [expression] to denote… affection… God is our Father… the Father of all lights [James 1:17], that one Father, from whom are all things, and we in him [Ephesians 4:6].”
Regarding Paul’s reference to himself as a “father,” we need to understand that he was strictly talking about the fact that GOD used him as an instrument to proclaim the truth and to teach and nourish those who listened. This spiritual “father-child” relationship is also expressed in other passages in Scripture, such as Philippians 2:22; 1 Thessalonians 2:11; and 1 Peter 5:13. As can be easily seen from these passages, the word “father” is used affectionately–and NOT in any way as a religious TITLE of superiority.
Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible adds:
“‘And call no man your Father’… This does not, of course, forbid us to apply the term to our real father. Religion requires all proper honor to be shown to [him, Exodus 20:12; Matthew 15:4; Ephesians 6:1-3]. But the word ‘father’ also denotes ‘authority, eminence, superiority…’ In this sense it is used here. In this sense it belongs eminently to God, and it is not right to give it to people… Only God has supreme authority… Christ taught them that the source of all life and truth was God, and they ought not to seek or receive a title which properly belongs to [Him].”
Vincent’s Word Studies add the thought that the word “Father” is “Aimed at those who combed the title Abba, or Father. Compare the title Papa – Pope.”
In conclusion, we are to be careful what religious titles to use, or to accept. The safest way would be to use those titles which the Bible specifically mentions and applies approvingly to God’s ministers and deacons (compare passages such as 1 Corinthians 12:28-29; Ephesians 4:11-16; 1 Timothy 3:1-2, 8-13; and Titus 2:5-7). Let us not go “beyond what is written” (1 Corinthians 4:6; New International Version), because if we do, including applying and embracing titles which only belong to God, we may “wander beyond the teaching of Christ [and] leave God behind” (2 John 9, Living Bible).
Lead Writer: Norbert Link
Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock
A new StandingWatch program (#165) has been posted on StandingWatch, Google Video and YouTube. It is titled, “‘Holy Father’ and ‘Holy Mass’–But What Does the Bible Say?” In the program, Norbert Link discusses the fact that while visiting the USA, Pope Benedict XVI has been referred to repeatedly as the “Holy Father” or “Your Holiness.” But are these spiritual titles appropriate, according to Jesus’ words, as recorded in the Bible? Also, what do the Holy Scriptures say about the “Holy Mass,” the “Eucharist” or the “Communion”? Did Jesus command His disciples to partake of the bread and wine at any time of their choice? And did He teach that these symbols change into His literal body and blood? The Biblical answers might SHOCK you.
The following video-recorded sermons by Norbert Link have been posted on Google Video:
BIBLE STUDY: The Power of the Tongue (April 1, 2006)
BIBLE STUDY: Anger and Wrath (April 20, 2008)
The following video-recorded sermon by Edwin Pope has been posted on Google Video:
BIBLE STUDY: Does Your Life Reflect Christ? (September 10, 2005)
We are in the process of reprinting our booklet, “Europe in Prophecy,” for an upcoming advertising campaign in Great Britain. This will be our third printing of the booklet.
The printing of our newest booklet, “Is That in the Bible? Man’s Holidays or God’s Holy Days” has been completed, and we should be able to send out copies within the next two weeks by mail.
How This Work is Financed
This Update is an official publication by the ministry of the Church of the Eternal God in the United States of America; the Church of God, a Christian Fellowship in Canada; and the Global Church of God in the United Kingdom.
Editorial Team: Norbert Link, Dave Harris, Rene Messier, Brian Gale, Margaret Adair, Johanna Link, Eric Rank, Michael Link, Anna Link, Kalon Mitchell, Manuela Mitchell, Dawn Thompson
Technical Team: Eric Rank, Shana Rank
Our activities and literature, including booklets, weekly updates, sermons on CD, and video and audio broadcasts, are provided free of charge. They are made possible by the tithes, offerings and contributions of Church members and others who have elected to support this Work.
While we do not solicit the general public for funds, contributions are gratefully welcomed and are tax-deductible in the U.S. and Canada.
Donations should be sent to the following addresses:
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United Kingdom: Global Church of God, PO Box 44, MABLETHORPE, LN12 9AN, United Kingdom