"Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you. " (Matthew 7:6)
Recently I received an email in which the writer felt that by making Church of God in Wales sermons freely available to anyone who cared to download them we were going against scriptures such as the above. After all, were they not meant to be "food in due season" for the church members and not for the world? The understanding we have has been given to us by God ... are we not in danger of having this "pearl of great price" trampled into the mud by posting these sermons for all and sundry?
And are we not also warned that by doing so, we could bring persecution down on our heads? Reading the account of Stephen's defence in Acts 7, he certainly did not "pull any punches" when it came to what he believed and where the blame for Christ's death lay. And he paid for it with his life. Similarly, in Acts 22, Paul was very open to the mob at Jerusalem as to the circumstances of his conversion, what he believed and why, and again, this resulted in his extradition to Rome, where he later was executed.
These men certainly suffered for being open about their beliefs, appearing to be paying the penalty for going against the clear command in Matthew 7. Yet we are also warned: "But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven. (Matthew 10:33). So what exactly is Christ telling us here in Matthew ...and how is it possible to be obedient to both these scriptures in our current scattered church scenario and yet truth-starved world?
The more World Tomorrow broadcasts I listen to, the more I am amazed at the spiritual depth in them. So much so that we regularly use them as the first message in our services and consistently find them of great value in this role. These broadcasts were originally designed for the world at large. If we are not to cast our spiritual pearls before those whose focus is totally carnal and hostile, then why did Mr Armstrong present such spiritually-rich material for public radio and TV consumption? Doesn't it contravene that particular scripture?
Taking the above concept to its absurd conclusion, then the entire focus of the first commission when Mr Armstrong was alive — of taking the gospel of the kingdom to the world as a witness — would contravene this passage. In fact, so would the work of the early apostles — yet this cannot be the case as they were specifically commanded by Christ how to handle those who were destined to reject their message:
To understand any passage of Scripture, we must carefully read it within the context in which it is found. When this rule is applied to this specific passage, it becomes very clear that Christ is talking primarily of actions we take on an individual basis — not on the collective actions of His church. We individually must remove the plank from our own eye before attempting to extract a splinter from someone else's ... individually judge as we'd like to be judged ... individually ask, seek, knock — just as we must be individually careful not to cast before proverbial swine, what we have been entrusted with as spiritually precious.
Mr Armstrong brought this out in the opening remarks of his Good News personal: "Have You Tried To Convert Others?" published in December 1985:
Have YOU tried to induce others to read The Plain Truth, The Good News or tune in to the World Tomorrow broadcast? Perhaps your wife — your husband — one of your family — a close relative or friend?
Have YOU tried to get others converted — "saved", as many express it? Have YOU started to "preach"?
If you have, you have probably stirred controversy, antagonism — lost a friend — or even a wife or husband.
But if you haven't — DON'T! (Personal - GN December 1985)
Within traditional Christianity "personal evangelism" is promoted to a great degree and it is far too often expressed as precisely the actions warned against by Mr Armstrong above. Failing to grasp the fact that this is not the only day of salvation, the scripture: "No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day." (John 6:44) makes little sense. And from this distorted basis, the scripture: "Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine"(Matthew 7:6) must be largely ignored also.
But the problem is, this misguided form of "witnessing for Christ" has also been taken on board by some members of what was once the Church of God. They too appear to largely overlook the fact that when our lights shine before men it is so that they may SEE our good works, not HEAR our good arguments (Matthew 5:16). Well did Mr Armstrong warn us:
So much of Protestantism has rubbed off on us that we think a good deal like Protestants do. "This is the time God is desperately trying to get everybody saved, and the devil is trying to get them lost." Now you know, if you think a minute, that can't be true! Otherwise, Satan is more powerful than God. He's winning that battle. But there isn't any such contest going on at all! This is not a time God is trying to save the world. The parable, just read to you in the sermonette [parable of the sower - Matthew 13], shows you that the overwhelming majority never receives the Word; and, if they do, it chokes them immediately and they never go on. ( Apostasy - January 31, 1976 )
God's plan for mankind is right on schedule. Although Satan is indeed currently the god of this world (II Corinthians 4:4), he remains in that position only for as long as God allows it. There is no misguided contest for men's souls in which Satan has the advantage. Similarly the recent apostasy and subsequent shattering of the church did not somehow catch God and Jesus Christ by surprise but was plainly foreseen and prophesied (Daniel 12:7) — and are being used to sift and test God's people for their ultimate place in the spiritual temple to which Christ will shortly return. (Daniel 12:10, Revelation 11:1-2)
When Mr Armstrong was alive one of the primary jobs he had been given to do was made very plain: to fulfil a clear and definitive sign given to show that the return of Jesus Christ was imminent: "And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come." (Matthew 24:14) That job has now been done and the once open door closed — but how was it done? What approach was used in regards "casting pearls before swine"?
I never try to talk anyone into accepting Bible truth or being converted. I go to the world over the air and in print, and everyone is free to listen or read — or to dial out or not read. No one gets our literature unless he or she personally requests it. We try never to force God's precious truth on anyone. That's GOD'S WAY! ( Personal - GN December 1985)
In the past people were able to switch channels or ignore the news-stand displays of magazines. There was therefore no "cramming of religion down people's throats". Unlike a personal harangue, making use of the spiritually-rich material that was available was entirely in the hands of the people that came across it. They could take it or leave it, listen to it or change channels. This is very much as it should be — and needs to be the same today.
Today we have the Internet. In exactly the same way as happened in the past to those who stumbled across the broadcast on the radio or TV dial, so those today who come across the websites can either read or ignore, listen or go somewhere else. But there is one thing different today. Rather than taking the gospel to all the world as a witness, our primary aim is to remind people of what went out and not only give them access to the material once again, but make it relevant to the current age and position in which we find ourselves. This is particularly true for those scattered individuals who in varying degrees have been confused and led astray by various facets of the apostasy.
But what about church services? Should we therefore have an open door policy — where people can walk in off the street or log on to our services and chat rooms without restriction? This certainly was not the case in the past and neither should it be today if we are following the same Spirit and led by the same High Priest. But this is not primarily to avoid "casting pearls before swine" as people off the street could clearly choose to either stay or leave — just as is the case with the radio broadcast.
The main reason concerns the very purpose of services themselves. Jesus Christ — through Mr Armstrong — established church services as spiritually safe locations attended by people of like mind for their spiritual growth and development. They were not based on Protestant "worship services" but rather training opportunities for the teachers of tomorrow — places not only of formal learning but also to provide uplifting fellowship among brethren of like mind. Many of us remember only too well the mental and emotional turmoil of attending services where there was - or still is - a great difference in understanding of basic truths.
So if we are to remain the same Church, we need to follow the same policy today and that includes the policy for online services. The full live service, rebroadcasts, chat room and Fellowship forum are restricted areas for members only — but the vast majority of messages are also made available to a wider audience. And this is as it should be: providing spiritual material to all who wish to access the site, while nevertheless restricting full access to members only.
This use of sermons to provide spiritually rich material for nonmembers is not something new. On occasion, Mr Armstrong would take a sermon and adapt it for use in the broadcast. As an example, just compare the World Tomorrow "How Truth Came" with the sermon transcript "Times and Seasons" from which this particular World Tomorrow was taken. This is very much why we frequently play the broadcasts as the first message in our services — because they are of great value to the membership. And the point is, they are also invaluable to the wider church, as are his sermons also.
In the past Mr Armstrong would make this profoundly spiritual material available to the general public, knowing full well that none but a select few would continue to listen and respond. The messages given became a witness against them, and so we do the same, but in our case it is mainly in the hope of serving the wider church for whom such material is their literal godsend. As God's church we have a duty to feed God's potential children and to make His material accessible to them — wherever they may be. We operate in a very different church environment from the one that existed when Mr Armstrong was alive. The church does not just consist of COGiW, so what we have to say must be made available to a much wider audience. I know of no way of doing this at this time except to post most of the messages on our website for download.
But our individual responsibility remains very much as it always has been — to be ready to give an answer regarding our beliefs ... but only if we are asked (I Peter 3:15) ... and then it would be wise to quickly ask for wisdom to know just how much to divulge, and not be like a little 5yr old chap we know, who when asked by a sales assistant what Father Christmas was going to bring him, replied.."We don't keep Christmas......or Easter, ...or birthdays". It's amusing coming from a youngster, and is a valuable illustration of how easy it is to give away too much information!
Individually, we are warned of the danger of sharing our priceless understanding with those who really don't want to know ... for now. Their time will come, and they will remember us — hopefully not for what we tried to cram down their throats, but more what kind of neighbours we were, and it is in this context that we need to be aware of denying Christ. There is a quote attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson that strikes at the heart of the matter: "What you do speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say". As neighbours go, are we helpful, or otherwise ... clean and tidy, or otherwise ... have friendly children, or otherwise. Actions speak louder than words!
We have an incredible privilege at this end-time to be among the very few ever called in this church age, so let us be wary of how we use the truth in our day to day lives, not casting pearls before swine, and certainly not denying Christ by our actions, but living each and every day as soon-to-be-born members of the coming Kingdom of God.
…every citizen seen as a potential terrorist… constantly watched… encouraged to spy on one another… even given “threat rating”…
With 25% of the world’s prison population, militarized police, and the NSA (National Security Agency) spying on everyone, some are asking if America is becoming like Nazi Germany!
Sounds far fetched? The following articles show a dangerous trend. Is America sleep-walking into a totalitarian society?
America Is Rapidly Becoming More Like Nazi Germany
“The United States of America is becoming more like Nazi Germany every single day. In fact, the Nazification of America is almost complete. The parallels between Nazi Germany and the United States of today are going to absolutely shock many of you. Most Americans simply have never learned what life was really like back in Nazi Germany.
After reading the information in the rest of this article, there should be no doubt that the United States is becoming just like Nazi Germany.
Nazi Germany shows us what happens when the state becomes god. Adolf Hitler was certainly more racist than the leaders of America are today, but other than that there are very few differences between the road that Adolf Hitler led Germany down and the path that the United States is being led down.
Under Adolf Hitler, paranoia was standard operating procedure.
In Nazi Germany, every citizen was a potential threat and everyone had to be constantly watched for suspicious activity.
Of course the exact same thing is happening in America today. Just about anything you do can get you labeled as a ‘potential terrorist’ by the government. According to a new DHS report, the following are some of the beliefs and ideologies of potential terrorists…
In addition, the U.S. government has decided that it would be a really good idea for all of us to spy on one another. The ‘If You See Something, Say Something’ campaign looks like it could have been pulled right out of a Gestapo security handbook.
But America is not supposed to be about spying on one another and reporting each other to the secret police. America is supposed to be about liberty and freedom.” (endoftheamericandream.com)
Protecting Privacy, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties
“A critical element of the DHS mission is ensuring that the civil rights and civil liberties of persons are not diminished by our security efforts, activities, and programs. Consequently, the ‘If You See Something, Say Something™’ campaign respects civil rights or civil liberties by emphasizing behavior, rather than appearance, in identifying suspicious activity.” (dhs.gov)
By treating every citizen as a potential terrorist, by constantly monitoring their emails and phone calls, by encouraging people to spy on one another, and even giving people a “threat rating”, all this completely annuls their privacy, civil rights and civil liberties!
If a citizen sees a crime in progress, or has evidence which would help the police solve a crime, then the authorities need to be informed. But this idea goes much further. It encourages people to spy on each other. This looks very similar to the Stasi in the old East Germany, where this same idea was used. The Stasi was one of the most hated and feared institutions of the East German communist government.
As the previous article points out, the police are already using social media to look out for people doing or saying things that can be regarded as “suspicious”. Just about anything you do can get you labeled as a “potential terrorist” by the government. And this is the real problem. Those in authority are coming to regard everyone as a potential terrorist. The following article shows what is being done right now:
Cops scan social media to help assess your ‘threat rating’
“A national spotlight is now focused on aggressive law enforcement tactics and the justice system. Today’s professional police forces — where officers in even one-stoplight towns might have body armor and mine-resistant vehicles — already raise concerns.
Yet new data-mining technologies can now provide police with vast amounts of surveillance information and could radically increase police power. Policing can be increasingly targeted at specific people and neighborhoods — with potentially serious inequitable effects.
One such application is Beware, sold to police departments since 2012 by a private company, Intrado. This mobile application crawls over billions of records in commercial and public databases for law enforcement needs. The application ‘mines criminal records, Internet chatter and other data to churn out … profiles in real time,’ according to one article in an Illinois newspaper.
Here’s how the company describes it on their website:
Accessed through any browser (fixed or mobile) on any Internet-enabled device including tablets, smartphones, laptop and desktop computers, Beware® from Intrado searches, sorts and scores billions of commercial records in a matter of seconds - alerting responders to potentially deadly and dangerous situations while en route to, or at the location of a call.
Crunching all the database information in a matter of seconds, the Beware algorithm then assigns a score and “threat rating” to a person — green, yellow or red. It sends that rating to a requesting officer.
For example, working off a home address, Beware can send an officer basic information about who lives there, their cell phone numbers, whether they have past convictions and the cars registered to the address. Police have had access to this information before, but Beware makes it available immediately.
Yet it does far more — scanning the residents’ online comments, social media and recent purchases for warning signs. Commercial, criminal and social media information, including, as Intrado vice president Steve Reed said in an interview with urgentcomm.com, ‘any comments that could be construed as offensive,’ all contribute to the threat score.
And no system is foolproof. Congress, for example, recognizes the sensitivity of the information that lenders and employers have, because errors can cause serious financial harm. The Fair Credit Reporting Act therefore gives consumers the right to access their credit reports and make corrections.
The risks to life and property, however, are far higher and more unpredictable in the law enforcement context. Yet there is no mechanism for people to see their threat ‘ratings’ — much less why the algorithm scored it. You have no ability to correct errors if, say, someone with the same name has a violent criminal record.” (reuters.com)
Another sign – over 2.4 million in prison in the ‘Land of the Free’
“The United States has 5% of the world’s population, yet we have 25% of the world’s prison population. Land of the free, right? It would seem the statistics say otherwise, since the official drug war president Nixon announced in the 70’s, our prison population has grown over 700%! Recent estimates put our prison population to well over 2.4 million inmates.” (theantimedia.org)
“Additionally, 4,814,200 adults at year-end 2011 were on probation or on parole. In total, 6,977,700 adults were under correctional supervision (probation, parole, jail, or prison) in 2011.” (wikipedia.org)
1 in 3 Americans Are on File with the FBI in the US Police State
“The sickening transformation of these United States into an authoritarian police state with an incarceration rate that would make Joseph Stalin blush, has been a key theme of my writing since well before the launch of Liberty Blitzkrieg. One of the posts that shocked and disturbed readers most, was published a little over a year ago titled: American Police Make an Arrest Every 2 Seconds in 2012.
Fast forward to fall 2014, and the Wall Street Journal has a powerful article about how children in schools systems across the U.S. are being arrested or turned over to police custody for doing things that children have always done since the beginning of time. Things such as wearing too much perfume, sharing a classmates’ chicken nuggets, throwing an eraser or chewing gum.
As a result of our insane societal obsession with authority and disproportionate punishment, the WSJ reports that ‘ nearly one out of every three American adults are on file in the FBI’s master criminal database .’
From the Wall Street Journal:
A generation ago, schoolchildren caught fighting in the corridors, sassing a teacher or skipping class might have ended up in detention. Today, there’s a good chance they will end up in police custody.
In Texas, a student got a misdemeanor ticket for wearing too much perfume. In Wisconsin, a teen was charged with theft after sharing the chicken nuggets from a classmate’s meal — the classmate was on lunch assistance and sharing it meant the teen had violated the law, authorities said.
Over the past 20 years, prompted by changing police tactics and a zero-tolerance attitude toward small crimes, authorities have made more than a quarter of a billion arrests, the Federal Bureau of Investigation estimates. Nearly one out of every three American adults are on file in the FBI’s master criminal database [that’s over 100 million people!].
Did you catch that too? ‘Zero-tolerance attitude toward small crimes.’ Indeed, the big criminals go to Wall Street, crash the economy and then receive trillions in taxpayer bailouts. Or they get a top job in the Obama Administration…
Back to the WSJ…
According to the U.S. Education Department’s Office of Civil Rights, 260,000 students were reported, or ‘referred’ in the official language, to law enforcement by schools in 2012, the most-recent available data.
The number of school police officers rose 55% to about 19,000 in the 10 years to 2007, the last year for which numbers were available, according to a 2013 study from the Congressional Research Service.
The schools crackdown has had its intended effect. Victims’ surveys compiled by the Education Department show that there is a lower rate of violent crime committed in schools, falling to 52 incidents per 100,000 students in 2012 from 181 incidents per 100,000 in 1992. Supporters say that alone proves the worth of aggressive policing.
Well yeah, and pigs in a pen are easily controlled too, but are these the types of children we want to raise?
A science experiment that went awry turned into a 17-month battle for Kiera Wilmot and her mother as they tried to clear the honor student’s arrest record. According to the police report, she was on school grounds outside the classroom trying out an experiment that hadn’t been authorized by her teacher. Ms Wilmot, now 18, said she put a piece of aluminum inside a bottle with two ounces of toilet cleaner to see what would happen. The teen’s mother said she was trying to simulate a volcanic eruption.
‘It popped,’ blowing the top off the bottle, she said. She was handcuffed by the school-resource office, escorted out of the Bartow, Florida, school and taken to a juvenile facility where she was charged with possessing or discharging firearms or weapons at school and making, throwing, possessing, projecting, placing or discharging a destructive device.
Think about what sorts of lessons we are teaching talented students about experimenting and being creative. A modern Benjamin Franklin would most likely be rotting away in solitary right now.
So as we militarize the police, we police the schools. See the direction this is all headed in?
Keep chanting Muppets.” (libertyblitzkrieg.com)
Here is the real danger:
“Once the people are indoctrinated with nationalistic beliefs, and the infrastructure to protect them from some constantly-changing and ever-expanding definition of an enemy is in place, there is no ability for the people to regain liberty. By the time all of the pieces are in place, not only is opportunity to regain freedom [gone], but the will to achieve freedom has also evaporated. The reader will truly love Big Brother.” (theantimedia.org)
As these articles point out, America is displaying many of the characteristics of a police state. Some even say that America is rapidly becoming more like Nazi Germany – a totalitarian state!
How can this be possible?
Many long standing members of the Church of God expected the Church to be attacked at some stage. However, when the attack came, it came from a totally unexpected direction. It came, not from without, but from within, and from the very top! The attack came from the leadership of the Church, who were colluding with the enemy and it was successful. The Church was totally shattered and scattered. This was prophesied in Daniel 12:11.
We understand from Bible prophecy that a German led Europe is going to attack and take captive the British and American people. At the moment, America is way too powerful for this to happen. But if a major financial collapse led to civil unrest, and the imposition of marshal law, the situation could change, and change rapidly.
The American nation is already being weakened from within, by the US Government using “threats” to the nation and its people, to introduce even stricter laws – such as confiscating all firearms. Could this lead to a possible civil war?
Under the guise of “protecting” the people from “imminent threats”, Americans are gradually surrendering their freedom, their privacy, their civil rights and civil liberties. The original US Constitution which enshrined these concepts has been replaced by a ‘Brave New World!’
Is the nation of America being destroyed, from the inside, from the top? WATCH!
by Ian Munro
The Golden Rule
given Bristol UK 13 Dec 2014
|From road-rage to video games; aggression seems to be everywhere. But what has become known as "the golden rule" is a principle of life that brings blessings - and something we all need, ready to teach the same in the future. (1.8 Mb)|
by Paula Henderson
Psalm 128 - Blessed is a man fearing the Eternal
sung Bristol UK 13 Dec 2014
by Ian Henderson
God Has Kept His Promise
given Bristol UK 13 Dec 2014
|God promises us through the prophet Daniel, that His prophecies would be both unlocked and fulfilled at the end time. Many pour scorn on what God revealed prophetically to Mr Armstrong because, as happened to the early apostles, he expected Christ to return in his lifetime. But from the events he foresaw - then it is clear that God has indeed kept His promise! (13.0 Mb)|