Saturday 22 July 2006

Sabbath vs Sunday

The latest Journal carries copies of two ads that appeared in a local Big Sandy paper. The opening shot came from a fundamentalist fellowship keen score a few points. If you've read anything intelligent from either side of this discussion, you'll recognize the howlers (click on the image to view a larger copy).

You'd have to suspect that the good folk at New Life Church thought this would be a wonderful ministry to those poor, deluded Armstrongists in their midst. I don't know much if anything about the Big Sandy community (actually, the whole State of Texas is a complete mystery to me) but I'm guessing the WCG/ UCG/ CGI/ ICG/ CGBS groups are something of a local distinctive.

What's interesting is the quality of the argument. Pastor Billy falls back on "Joshua's Long Day" to "prove" his point. I doubt that particular objection would raise anything more than a guffaw from most literate readers, whether Sabbatarian or not.

The Sabbath issue is important enough to discuss openly, but this is hardly the way to raise it. A response the following week from the Church of God - Big Sandy (penned by Reg Killingley) provided a thoughtful and reasonable contrast.

Perhaps it's relevant here to put in a plug for Henry Sturcke's book, Encountering the Rest of God. Sturcke is a former WCG minister who has earned his doctor of theology at the University of Zurich with a disseration on Jesus and the Sabbath. I've got to admit that it's a little too academic to be coffee table material, but reverend gentlemen with pontifical tendencies like Pastor Billy could learn a lot if they bothered to persevere. And no, Joshua's Long Day doesn't get a mention!

But back to the ad. This is the level of debate that was going on in the 1930s when Herb was catching a few zzzzzzzzz's away from Loma in the public library. Wise up Billy, the world has moved on!

Also from the Journal letters section, joyous news that Geoffrey Neilson of South Africa has composed a new hymn in honor of "the 81st prophetic anniversary" of Herb's calling. To be sung to the catchy Dwight Armstrong tune “Lord, Teach Me That I May Know.”

God sent the end-time Elijah,
As promised to Israel’s Tribes,
After He identified
Where they’d all gone worldwide.

Elijah was the first to grasp
That the end time had begun;
He restored the first Truth and last
And every other one.

Elijah sowed God’s end-time crop,
Reached more hearts than all the
Proclaiming the Kingdom of God;
His disciples still haven’t stopped.

After Elijah’s Restoration
Came the great Falling Away.
Hold fast, Philadelphians,
Never let God’s Truth slip again.

Beautiful, huh?

(The front and back pages of the May 31 Journal can be downloaded in PDF format at


Anonymous said...

What's wrong with his argument. I kind of like it! It sticks to the Bible, goshdarnit! We need more people who'll believe what the Bible says and not rely on science to...

Oh, well, never mind.

In all seriousness, if you interpret the Bible literally, that's a perfectly legit view, isn't it?

Anonymous said...

Oops--somehow the "Anonymous" radio button got clicked. That was me...

Anonymous said...

As for the computer getting stuck on a certain date and then going to the Bible to see why, sounds just like one of the many unproven urban legends that floated around Armstrongism.

Anonymous said...

I remember Bob Fahey mentioning the Joshua/computer urban lengend as fact in a sermon back in the early 1980's.

Anonymous said...

Sheesh, ole Pastor Billy can't get a single sentence out of his mouth without saying something false. "Sabbath" is not simply the Hebrew word for "seven." It's the Hebrew word for "rest," and yes, it's akin to the word for "seven" because the day of rest was every seventh day.

As for Neilson's new hymn, oh gag and retch! Ah, but the lyrics are plain and clear testimony that Armstrongism is mostly about Herbert Armstrong and only somewhat about what the Bible says or doesn't say.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and as for that silly "plotting satellite orbits" story, why would anybody need to find out what the orbit of a communications satellite would have been had it existed in the 1400s B.C.?