The July 31 Journal has just been released - even though it's mid October and mid-Tabernacles as well. But don't let that put you off, this is quite an issue!
It seems the once cosy relationship between Ron Dart's CEM and the Tyler Church of God has ended in a messy separation, and resignations have been flying. There's a lengthy article on these developments by Dixon Cartwright.
Art Mokarow wanted to start "something new and different," so he called it the Association for Biblical Research. Hmm... octogenarian Art is definitely old enough to recall that Ernie Martin established something called the Foundation for Biblical Research back in the 70s. Al Carrozzo, another ghost from the past still remembered for blowing the whistle on Garner Ted's shenanigans, is also involved in ABR. Sadly, there seems to be no website.
Back to Ron Dart who, with all that free time he has now there are no sermons to prepare for the TCOG, has teamed up with the indomitable Pam Dewey to write a book (or more properly a booklet given that it runs to under 50 pages) called Doctrinal Self Defense. Here's the blurb:
The ancient Athenians of Paul's day gave their time to nothing more than hearing some new thing. They had nothing on the modern crowds waiting in line at grocery checkouts. The supermarket tabloids are sold by the millions because so many love to read some new thing. And the more astounding that new thing, the more appealing it is, whether it's the latest juicy gossip about a celebrity scandal, or the latest wild speculation on UFOs. Unfortunately, much of the world of religion still constantly thrives on some new thing too. There is an endless stream of wannabee gurus peddling Astounding New Truth (ANT) about prophecy, or obscure doctrinal topics, or hidden codes in the Bible, or lost keys to getting your prayers answered. What is really astounding is how easily so many of them can gather a following through their literature, recordings, websites, and broadcasts no matter how outlandish or unsubstantiated their claims. If your home or church congregation has been infested with ANTs, you may wonder what you can do to defend yourself and your loved ones. That is what this book is about.
ANTs... clever. Published by the POD firm Wasteland Press, you can pick up a copy for only $8 from Amazon.
Gary Arvidson - yet one more name from the dim, dark, distant past - rambles on about prophetic countdowns and the seventy weeks prophecy. "This sequel to [a previous Journal essay] points to possible significance for the year 2007 based on what came to pass in that year. It is a starting point for what is happening in 2008. So it now appears reasonable that 2007 could have been a pivotal year." Whoa, with sharp logic like that someone's gotta introduce this guy to Ronnie Weinland!
But wait, there's more! Alan Knight is back with an article on - are you ready for this? - shamanism. Actually Alan, those recovery stories told about dead youngsters being brought back to life by Elijah (1Kings 17) and Elisha (2 Kings 4) just reek of shamanism according to many scholars... but of course that's a long way from the point of Alan's rant on the wicked Babylonian influences that have subverted mainline Christianity.
Sprightly Don Billingsley, faithful flock-meister to the COG-FF, age 82, has overcome his recent grief sufficiently to tie the knot once more less than a year after the death of his first wife Madeline. The new Mrs Billingsley is 71.
Dennis Diehl contributes a letter to the editor about Willie Dankenbring's newly minted apostleship, and provides a column on long, lonely train whistles: perhaps the highlight of the issue.
Finally, there are details of the Barrett survey, which should be going online within the next day or so. The web address is www.quest.thenewbelievers.com. Put this one on your to-do list! You'll need to punch in a password. "Entry to the questionnaire is password-protected to prevent false entries by people outside the [COGs]. The password is six letters followed by four numbers: the town where HWA first began his radio ministry, and the year this occurred."
There are brief mentions of Raymond McNair's death and Rod Meredith's stroke.
With all that to digest, I haven't dared to peel back the pages of the Connections ad section yet... there's such a thing as too much excitement in one day ;-)
As always, Dixon kindly provides free access to the front and back pages in PDF form.