Norman Edwards is one of the more interesting characters to be found on the fringes of the Church of God. These days Norm appears to be keeping company with the Church of God (Seventh Day), while promoting his own Port Austin Bible Campus. The history of this latter institution reads a little like a soap opera all in itself, with a bitter parting of the ways between Norm and others involved in PABC's set-up. Among those on the other side of the fence, Homer Kizer and his Port Austin Bible Center (PABC2?)
Never mind, Norm has relaunched his once quite influential publication Servants' News, and you can download a PDF copy here. There's a lot that's noteworthy, but the following comments caught my eye.
Many of the young people there want to follow in the footsteps of their parents. They want to obey God and keep the Sabbath. They love to come there [the COG7 convention] and be among friends. But seven days is not long enough to make life-long close friends. It certainly is not long enough to decide whether or not one wants to consider marriage.
With small churches spread throughout the country, how do young people keep their relationship with God, prepare for a job, get a job and find someone of like belief to marry? One solution with which I have had personal experience: Caring Christians in areas where there are many young believers find a place to live and a suitable job for a young person from a sparse area. This allows the young person to remain in a Christian environment and get to know many other young people. I think this is a wonderful idea and I encourage other Christians to do this as they are able.
But most young people do not have this option available to them. That is why we hope to add PABC to their list of options.
Yes, Norm is concerned about the courting prospects of the young folk! How very old fashioned of him. If I'm not mistaken, Norm has expressed his desire for the "yoof" to go forth and multiply in intra-Sabbatarian style on other occasions. COG in-breeding? Certainly sends a shudder down my spine...
My advice to any young people out there is run like the wind! Whatever else may happen, never let yourself fall under the influence of anyone who seeks to limit your legitimate life-options and shrink your horizons. Beware those who crave control over others - regardless of pretext or "good intentions." The reason the Churches of God are full of gray heads, and failing to get traction with the youth demographic, is simple: they've got nothing to offer. Even if Norm manages to attract a few poor souls to shelter under PABC's wings, a quick perusal of this latest issue of Servants' News will quickly demonstrate whether what's on offer is out of touch and intellectually dubious.