by Epiphany Bible Students

No. 440A

In the beginning of another year, we praise the Lord and thank God for all His benefits toward us. In the words of David we say: “I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth.” (Psa. 34:1) We continue to pray for Thy will to be done in earth as it is in heaven. “Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; for he is faithful that promised.” (Heb. 10:23) In His Kingdom (Acts 17:31), “Then will I turn to the people a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of the Lord, to serve him with one consent.” (Zeph. 3:9)

            The disastrous calamity of Hurricane Andrew caused the loss of many homes and much sorrow and heartache to its victims. However, such calamities bring out the best in people. Many good people have gone to their aid with food and medical supplies. “The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.” (Prov. 15:3) “Verily there is a reward for the righteous: verily he is a God that judgeth in the earth.” (Psa. 58:11)

            Typhoon Gay Wreaks Havoc In Majuro, Marshall Islands: nearly 5,000 people lost their homes, and a third of the territory was declared a disaster area after the typhoon struck the northern Marshalls on Friday.” (Orlando Sentinel, November 24, 1992)

            A Calamitous Plague On All Our Houses: Nicaragua’s Lethal Tsunamis are the latest disaster to Hit the Planet. ‘Natural’ is not a word that links logically with ‘disaster.’ But together the words emphasize how little control humans have over the events they describe. Almost without pause, nature lately has shattered, crushed and flooded the earth with a series of cataclysms that have killed hundreds, caused incalculable damage and left survivors shaken.

            “On the same day in mid-August, a volcano erupted in Alaska, an earthquake hit near Alaska’s Andrean off Islands and another rocked Kyrgyzstan in the former Soviet Union. Two weeks ago Hurricane Andrew hit the Bahamas, then ripped through Florida and Louisiana. Last week the chain of disasters continued. Tropical Storm Polly drenched China and killed as least 150 people. Typhoon Omar, which had earlier raked Guam, headed for the Philippines. In Afghanistan flash floods swept through the valleys of the Hindu Kush, leaving hundreds dead or missing.

            “Probably the most spectacular of the week’s calamities began with a major earthquake under the Pacific Ocean 30 miles off the west coast of Nicaragua. The temblor spawned tsunamis, commonly known as tidal waves, that towered as high as 45 ft. in spots and rolled over dozens of small towns along 200 miles of coast. Surging inland the waves crushed houses and hotels and swept people out to sea. Nicaraguan civil defense officials said 116 were killed and 150 missing.

            “Managua called urgently for international assistance, and several countries, including the U.S., responded with money and supplies. President Violetta Chamorro also asked Washington to resume its assistance program, which was abruptly cut off last spring to underline U.S. displeasure over the continuing political influence of leftist Sandinstas.” (Time Magazine, September 14, 1992)

            Calamities have besieged the human family many times in the past, as well as have wars, crime and disease, but they haven’t been so far reaching as they are today. “For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines and pestilence, and earthquakes, in divers places.” (Matt. 24:7) However, Daniel 12:1 describes the Time of Trouble we will have before Messiah’s Kingdom is inaugurated. Also, Matt. 24:21 describes this same trouble as great tribulation: “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.” We thank God for this last clause. We believe this phase of the trouble refers to worldwide anarchy which is the last phase of the trouble, and probably will be short as verse 22 indicates.

            Calamities increase and crime and diseases escalate despite the good efforts of our faithful officers and the search by medical science to find cures for diseases.

            If The Lira Collapses, Italy Could Follow Suit: As the lira slumped against the all-powerful German mark early this month, wild rumors sped around several Italian cities that the government would freeze bank deposits. Not only were some banks in central Rome besieged by worried depositors but also two small branches inside the Italian Parliament could barely keep up with an unprecedented wave of withdrawals. ‘If they are panicking in Parliament,’ says one Roman, ‘we’re really in the mud.’

            “From London to Lisbon, all Europeans are facing uncertain times as the rosy vision of a prosperous European union has been put on hold. But no place is more uncertain than Italy, where a 54-year-old Columbia University Law School grad named Giuliano Amato is fighting a desperate battle as Prime Minister to keep a battered economy from flying apart. Industrial production is plummeting, while business confidence is at a 15-year low. By Amato’s own admission, Italy is passing through its most dangerous political and economic turbulence since World War II. ‘If I fail now,’ he told BUSINESS WEEK in an interview on October 6, ‘I do not know what will happen to my country.’ [“Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven (present ruling powers, civil and ecclesiastical) shall be shaken.”—Luke 21:26]

            “Italy’s deep crisis is also becoming a big problem for the rest of Europe. The depressed lira, which floated free of other European currencies last month, is a frontal blow to French and German companies that compete head-on with such Italian giants as Fiat, Olivetti, and Benetton. In less than two weeks, for example, Fiat has gained a potential 25% price advantage over arch-rival Volkswagen. And the price for correcting that differential is going to be high: On October 2, Amato asked the European Community for up to $15 billion in standby loan guarantees to help the lira.

            Crucial Time: If Amato fails, the lira could collapse — and the rest of Italy along with it. In the rich industrial heartland of Northern Italy, threats of a tax revolt are already spreading as voters flock in droves to the Leghe, regional parties that advocate radically reducing, even severing, political and economic ties with Rome. In local elections in Mantua in early October, two Leghe parties walked away with a stunning 42% of the vote. ‘The very unity of Italy risks being destroyed,’ warns Giovanni Spadolini, president of the Italian Senate and a former Prime Minister.

            “Can Amato begin to restore confidence? The next few weeks will be crucial. His strategy hinges on getting quick Parliamentary approval for a tough 1993 budget and a series of structural spending cuts that are unprecedented in postwar Italian history. For example, he has moved swiftly to cut to the bone some of Europe’s most generous pension and health schemes. Despite such efforts, next year’s budget deficit will be around $130 billion at the least — some 10% of gross domestic product.

            Kickbacks: Amato has a couple of aces up his sleeve. Although Italy’s traditional ruling parties bristle at his attempt to restrain pork-barrel spending, they fear new elections even more. Voters are primed to make a clean sweep. The parties are reeling from snowballing corruption investigations that have thrown scores of politicians and businessmen into jail this year. Almost every day brings fresh arrests. Most recently, 8 of the 12 members of the regional government in Abruzzi were jailed on charges of receiving kickbacks on $310 million in aid from the EC.

            “The threat from organized labor is less than it seems. Italy’s unions, which helped bring Italian industry to its knees in the 1970s, are now weak and divided. Public workers did stage a walkout on October 2, and the three largest union confederations are calling for a nationwide general strike on October 13, but turnout is likely to be low. With unemployment at 11%, hanging on to a job is now more important than making a political point. ‘With the recession, I have to recognize that Fiat is vulnerable,’ says Luigi Mazzone, an official of FIOM, Italy’s metalworkers’ union. Fiat, Italy’s largest private employer, will temporarily lay off 31,000 workers next month.

            “‘It’s hard to be optimistic, but you can’t exclude the possibility that Amato will make it,’ says Stefano Micossi, chief economist at Confindustria, the employers’ federation. Business is starting to rally around Amato. The slump in the lira’s value will fuel inflation, but industrial production in the north could pick up thanks to increased exports. ‘Add to that the possibility that the Germans won’t be able to stick to these high interest rates,’ says Micossi, ‘and I can see a strong psychological shift.’ But before it’s over, Amato may need some even stronger medicine to cure Italy.

            A Talk With Prime Minister Amato: What happens if you fail and your government collapses? Answer: If I fail, I really don’t know what happens to this country, to the confidence it needs in itself and to the confidence we need to restore with international financial markets. If I fail – not because it’s me, because it could be anybody else — it would be a very difficult blow for the country to sustain. And it would be a blow for Europe as a whole, because Europe needs Italy.” (By John Rossant in Rome — Business Week, October 19, 1992, pp. 49,50)


            At the present writing, December 4, 1992, there is a flurry of pre-Christmas buying. In our recent election, the big campaign issue by all parties was for change. With Bill Clinton’s election many are now optimistically looking for a change from our “recession” to prosperous times. But our basic problems are still with us. We are in deep trouble in our country and also the whole world in all phases of society – financial, political, religious, military, social, moral, legal, etc. From a Swiss news-letter we read: “The crucial problems will still be there after the election.” The U.S. federal debt soaring was caused by government spending gone wild. Below are several shocking forecasts from a prominent newsletter:

            1. While the eyes of the world have focused on Russia and Yugoslavia, new explosive rumblings have been building up throughout the Middle East. Tension in the Middle East is building to a crescendo... The ultimate aim of Islam is the destruction of Israel.

            2. Intelligence sources from China and Libya report that radical Islamic factions backed by China intend to impose a strategic raw material blockade on the West in alliance with the South African ANC – once the ANC is installed as the government of South Africa.

            3. Intelligence sources reports an increasing rise in nationalism in Europe... Many of Europe’s boundaries have been drawn arbitrarily by the imperial warlords, and now the price has to be paid. The 1990s will be a decade of rebellion.

            4. With the collapse of Soviet Communism, it is now Europe vs. America. The new anti-American alliance is forming. Information from sources in Paris, Rome, London, Zurich and Moscow has revealed an astonishing new European alliance that could destroy America economically and its potential dominance.

            As we move further into the Time of Trouble, conditions will get worse, with occasional minor upturns before the long sought relief of the Kingdom under Jesus Christ – “Thy Kingdom Come.” We expect worldwide revolution to increase in magnitude, leading into Anarchy and the final phase of Jacob’s trouble, until the still small voice says, “Peace Be Still.” Our continued advice is “Seek ye the Lord, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought his judgment; seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the Lord’s anger.” (Zeph. 2:3) (Contributed)

            1992 has certainly been a year of changes. Communism fell apart this year. We saw the system of government of one of the world powers, the Soviet Union, collapse. The President of the United States was defeated for re-election, and one year prior he had been rated as doing the best job of any President in recent years. For the first time in many decades, the world is facing a recession. Gold is at an all time low.

            The United States will have a new president in 1993, who has made a lot of promises that will be difficult to keep. 1993 should be a low inflationary year. Interest rates will probably move up 1/2% to 1% depending on what new tax laws are enacted by our new President.

            The United States’ economy affects many other countries in the world. With the collapse of the Soviet Union the United States is curtailing defense spending; and this has created unemployment, which affects all businesses.

            President Clinton is planning to reduce the Federal budget deficit by 50% over four years; but Federal spending programs, known as entitlements, account for more than one-half of all Federal spending; and they are growing faster than the inflation rate of 3.2%. The largest entitlement program, Social Security, has a budget of 302 billion dollars and is larger than our defense budget in 1992. 1993 will be an interesting year for all companies and countries.


            Jehovah’s Witnesses: The Witnesses continue to preach “fear” of annihilation in Armageddon to gain more members. They need more members to replace the members that are leaving the Society. They change their doctrines to suit their needs, such as the Great Crowd will live through to the Kingdom. When so many of their faithful devotees died like the rest of the human family, it became necessary to change that teaching, as well as other teachings that time revealed to be false. They are like the chameleon changing its colors.

            There are more systems of error today than there has ever been. People are so confused they don’t know what to believe. The Witnesses have many confused members. “Let us reason together, saith the Lord.” (Isa. 1:18) In Christ’s Kingdom the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord (Isa. 11:9); and the “inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness.” (Isa. 26:9) People are learning unrighteousness more than righteousness in this “evil day” (Eph. 6:13), yet the Witnesses claim to be God’s Kingdom and are separating the Sheep and Goats of this present world. God “will have all men [which include the Jehovah’s Witnesses] to be saved [from the Adamic Death], and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.” (1 Tim. 2:4) The Witnesses teach Christ’s Kingdom in a perverted way. They say their devotees will be the rulers in that Kingdom, but the Remnant tells the Great Crowd what to do now. Since they claim they are to be God’s Kingdom on earth, and are the forerunners of that glorious Kingdom now, they are judging the individuals of this present generation during this Time of Trouble while Satan is still blinding the minds of the people. Knowing that the “god of this world hath blinded the minds of them that believe not” (2 Cor. 4:4), “God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all.” (Rom. 11:32) Our Redeemer is full of mercy and compassion, but the Witnesses have no mercy and compassion on the good people who do not join them.

            In the response to the Awake! magazine of September 22, 1992, the Witnesses say it is all right to lie for religious purposes. However, in their Watchtower of December 15, 1992, they say: “Why Be Truthful? Truth is the standard our great Creator has set forth for all. His written Word, the Bible, states at Hebrews 6:18 that ‘it is impossible for God to lie.’ He set a model for us...” (p. 23, col.1) “This truthful God requires us to live by his high standards in order to receive his approval. Revelations 21:8 further says that the portion of ‘all the liars’ is ‘the second death,’ which is eternal destruction. So our accepting God’s view of lying gives us strong reason to speak the truth.” (p. 23, col. 2)

            Of all liars today when Satan is still the “prince of this world” (John 14:30), and continues to “blind the minds of the people” (2 Cor. 4:4), some are lying knowingly and some unwittingly. But all will be resurrected and “come unto the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim. 2:4), as will the Jehovah’s Witnesses.

            While many of the clergy were consigning Brother Russell to eternal torment, he was teaching a blessing for them in the Kingdom. We teach the Kingdom to the world and it will be a panacea to all who have “ears to hear.”

            “Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompense; he will come and save you. Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped.” (Isa. 35:4,5) “And the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.” (Isa. 35:10)

            The following are excerpts from a report by an ex-JW — “My response to September 22, 1992 Awake! Magazine, pp. 11-13: I have often encountered claims by various persons that the Watchtower Society is wholly irresponsible and often dishonest when relating accounts that deal with the Society. I was always somewhat skeptical of the extent of this claim until they discussed me and my work in an Awake! article which is deliberately deceptive and misleading. The article begins by stating that ‘Christianity has met with opposition from its inception. In giving instructions to his disciples, Jesus warned: Be on your guard against men; for they will deliver you up to local courts, and they will scourge you in their synagogues. [The Witnesses haven’t been scourged in synagogues nor in churches. However, Pastor Russell was. The Witnesses are seldom mentioned by the clergy in the denominations, contrariwise, the Witnesses “scourge” the Christian organizations many times for their teachings.] Why, you will be hailed before governors and kings for my sake, for a witness to them and the nations.’

            “This is well put, but the Watchtower has grossly misapplied this Scripture. In the custody cases discussed, it is often the Watchtower that is doing the persecuting. Most all of the cases that I have testified in involved a single individual male who is extremely concerned about the welfare of his child or children. In virtually all of them, the Watchtower’s legal staff has been brought in with unlimited resources to fight for the Witness mother against a lone individual, usually a young male in debt with little savings and very limited resources to spend on his case which may cost him $30,000 or more. Even if the Watchtower loses, they have the resources to appeal these cases over and over until they prevail. According to their Duns report, their income in the United States last year [1991], was over a billion dollars. [Money talks in this “evil day.”] As stated in a Canadian appellate court decision by Justice Proudfoot, they often appeal these cases to death. Rarely does the non-Witness have the funds to even put up a half-way defense at the lowest court level.

            “They then falsely claim that ‘A small group of opposers have tried to make religion the key issue in determining child-custody issues when faithful Witnesses of Jehovah are divorced by non-believing mates.’ In virtually all of the cases that I am aware of, the marriage problems were usually caused by the woman becoming a Witness, and in most cases the man did not want a divorce. What he desired was to restore the harmony in his family that existed before the Watchtower entered his life. Thus, it is hardly accurate to state that the Witnesses ‘are divorced by unbelieving mates’ but more accurate to state that the Watchtower intrusion has rendered the marriage asunder, causing a divorce. Further, the problem is not a ‘small group of opposers.’ I have consulted in only about 100 cases or so at most in the past decade, and there are, according to the Watchtower’s own estimates, something like 1,000 or so potential American custody cases each year, and thousands more European cases.

            “The Awake! continues, referencing an Ohio Supreme Court case that stated ‘The eleven-page opinion struck quite a blow to the so-called expert witness, who is actually a disfellowshipped individual claiming to be a psychologist.’ It is difficult to understand why the Society would prefer to deliberately lie here when they could serve their own ends and still be accurate. This paragraph obviously refers to myself, and I am not disfellowshipped, but resigned from the Watchtower on July 20, 1981, by means of a letter sent by registered mail, return receipt requested, which I have, and was dated July 29, 1981, and signed by Paul Maddox of Bethel. The Watchtower Society has this information, yet chooses to lie. Further, the statement ‘claiming to be a psychologist’ is deliberately intended to distort and misrepresent. My background in psychology, as published in my 1992 book on Witness Mental Health, states:

         ‘Dr. Bergman has extensively studied the Jehovah’s Witness faith almost thirty years. He has regularly attended their meetings for almost two decades and has actively involved himself with virtually every phase of the movement. His research on the mental health [and history] of Jehovah’s Witnesses has resulted in a master’s thesis at Bowling Green State University in Ohio, numerous books, articles, book chapters and several papers presented at professional confer­ences. He is now the leading American expert on the psychology of Jehovah’s Witnesses, and has testified in court or was a consultant scores of times as an expert witness on the Jehovah’s Witnesses. A licensed professional clinical counselor, his next publication in this area will be a full length book on the process of doing counseling with the Witnesses.

         ‘The writer has also spent over two decades in research in the area of criminal corrections and psychology. He has also taught psychology, sociology and research methods and techniques at both the undergraduate and graduate levels for over a decade...

         ‘A fellow of the American Scientific Affiliation, his work has been translated into five languages. Dr. Bergman has earned six college degrees, including two masters degrees and two doctorates. He is listed in Who’s Who in the Midwest and in Who’s Who in Science and Religion...

            “The Watchtower then quoted [in the Awake!] the court ruling — which was also grossly inaccurate. This entire section stated:

         ‘One Witness lost custody of her three-year-old son and was restricted from even mentioning religion during periods of visita­tion. The Legal Department of the Watchtower Society appealed this order and lost in the court of appeals. An appeal was then taken to the Ohio State Supreme Court. Happily, on April 15, 1992, the court rules in favor of the liberty of the Witness. The 11-page opinion struck quite a blow to the so-called expert witness, who is actually a disfellowshipped individual claiming to be a psychologist. The court said that he ‘testified, on the basis of a dissertation he had written, that mental illness was more common among Jehovah’s Witnesses than among the general population. This testimony was a blatant attempt to stereotype an entire religion... [T]his one piece of statistical evidence is meaningless.’

            “First of all, one wonders about the wisdom of printing in the Awake! the statement that ‘mental illness was more common among the Jehovah’s Witnesses.’ Millions of Witnesses will read this, and surely many will say to themselves, ‘In my experience this claim is true!’ The Watchtower is letting the cat out of the bag with the admission, and printing it hardly seems in their best interests. Further, the Watchtower is irresponsi­ble at best in printing this statement, one which they must know consists of absolute lies, and they are perpetuating the lies. In this case, Pater versus Pater, I did not testify, as claimed by the court on page 400, on the basis of a dissertation that I wrote because it was not specifically on Witness mental health. I testified on the basis of almost twenty years therapy experience, and my research which involved reviewing approximately 4,000 books, Ph.D. theses and articles which are directly relevant to the Witness belief structure, my experience in working with hundreds of mentally ill Witnesses, and my review of the specific psychological studies which evaluated the mental health of the Witnesses — all of them concluding that it is much higher than the average, as well as my analyzation of the specific Watchtower teachings and authoring over a score of books and articles on the Witnesses. Literally volumes of research exist which show that the Witnesses’ teachings, if adhered to conscientiously as the Watchtower requires, are going to cause emotional problems and some level of maladjustment in a high number of cases. It is generally not difficult to meet the court’s requirement in these cases to show the religious beliefs of the Witnesses will have a specific harmful effect on the child in question, although this requires both exposure and time for the problems to develop. For a three or even six-year-old, this would be rather difficult to show.

            “As to the court’s claim that my testimony stereotypes the Witnesses, it has nothing to do with this concept. The word stereotype is an emotion laden term that means one has judged an entire group by a few cases and implies that I inaccurately described the situation with the Witnesses. They are one of the most homogeneous of all American sects, and their teachings are incredibly consistent throughout the world, partially because of the hierarchal arrangement. All policy in all countries comes from Brooklyn, and must be strictly followed without question in all details. Studies have consistently found – and it is my experience in traveling through Europe and Canada — that an incredible homogeneity in their belief and behavior does exist worldwide. The Witnesses must follow the same rules everywhere, something that the Witnesses actually brag about. It is hardly accurate to state that because the Witnesses teach a doctrine, that enumerating this doctrine or relating the empirical studies which are highly consistent about its effects, is stereotyping.” (Excerpt from the report of Dr. Jerry Bergman, NWT college, Box 246A, Archbold, Ohio 43502)

            The above excerpts are from Dr. Bergman’s report. If any of our readers would like a full report, write to Dr. Bergman and he will be glad to send it to you for a fee of $3.00, which includes postage and Xerox copies.

            Church Mistaken, Pope Says: Pope John Paul II formally proclaimed yesterday that the Roman Catholic Church erred in condemning the astronomer Galileo for holding that the Earth was not the center of the universe.

            “Galileo’s condemnation resulted from a ‘tragic mutual incomprehension’ and became a symbol for the church’s ‘supposed rejection of scientific progress,’ the pope said in a speech to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.

            “The speech was the Vatican’s final word on the matter nearly 400 years after Galileo was found guilty of violating church doctrine by contending that the Earth revolved around the sun, and not vise versa. Vatican experts appointed by the pope had studied the case for 13 years.

            “Galileo was forced to recant his beliefs and ordered imprisoned. He died under house arrest, blind but working on his theories to the end.

            “The pope had already admitted church errors in Galileo’s condemnation by the Church.

            “‘Galileo, who practically invented the experimental method, understood why the sun could function as the center of the world,’ the pope told church officials and scholars gathered at the Apostolic Palace.

            “The theologians of the time, in maintaining the ‘centrality of the Earth,’ erred by thinking that the ‘literal sense of sacred Scripture’ explained the physical world.

            “In fact, the pope said, there are two realms of knowledge, ‘one which has its source in Revelation and one which reason can discover by its own power.’ The two realms are distinct but compatible, he said.

            “The president of the Academy of the Lincei in Rome, of which Galileo was a member, said the speech was a long time coming. ‘This is not only about a rehabilitation but about recognition of errors and guilt.’

            “Galileo Gaillel lived from 1564 to 1642. He built the first complete astronomical telescope and used it to gather evidence supporting Copernicus’ theory that the Earth revolves around the sun.

            “The theory already had been denounced in 1616 as dangerous to the faith, and Galileo was warned to stop teaching it. He defied the warning by publishing his Dialogues Concerning the Two Chief World Systems, directed at nonspecialists, in 1632 and was tried a year later as a heretic.

            “He was sentenced to life imprisonment, a penalty later changed to house arrest, where he spent the last eight years of his life.”(Associated Press, November 1, 1992)

            The Catholic Church has made many tragic mistakes, and their victims have been burned at the stake, imprisoned, tortured and banished. The church does this because they believed their popes made no mistakes — were infallible. Not many people believe the pope is infallible today. It seems the popes should have repented of such tragic mistakes and implored God’s forgiveness. Of course, the Catholic Church has some measure of guilt.

            World Council Urges All Churches To Adopt Creed: Washington — The World Council of Churches, seeking to widen and energize the church unity movement, is asking churches that avoid creeds to adopt one for at least occasional use.

            “In particular, the council is asking non-creedal churches, which include Baptists, to adopt the historic Nicene Creed as a ‘central expression’ of the faith and to incorporate it to some extent into their life.

            “The council is also asking churches that use the Nicene Creed ‘to recognize those now willing to use it as churches in which the apostolic faith is expressed.’

            “The request, expressed in a proposed working paper of the council, is an attempt to draw in churches that have remained on the fringes of the ecumenical movement.

            “The challenge to accept or renew the creed as ‘a focus of the faith grounded in Holy Scripture’ comes at a time when the ecumenical movement and its quest for visible unity confronts new problems and difficulties.

            “‘In certain situations,’ the working paper acknowledges ‘we observe a decrease of ecumenical enthusiasm and commitment to the goal of visible unity.’

            “The Nicene Creed was formulated in 325 at the Council of Nicea and revised in 381 at the Council of Constantinople. Its purpose was to combat a number of heresies. Those considered most serious challenged belief in a trinitarian God by denying either the full godhead of the Holy Spirit or the divinity of Jesus.

            “The creed’s text varies between Eastern Orthodox and Western churches because of so-called ‘flioque clause,’ which says the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father ‘and from the Son.’ The words ‘and from the Son’ added by Western churches, have been rejected for centuries by Orthodox churches.

            “The working paper, known as the Dublin Text, is aimed at the fifth World Conference on Faith and Order, which will convene in Santiago de Composteia, Spain, next August. It has been 30 years since the last such conference, held in Montreal in 1963.

            “Such conferences usually include delegations or observers from churches outside those that are members of the World Council, which includes 322 Protestant and Orthodox groups.

            “The first draft of the Dublin Text, prepared by the World Council’s Faith and Order Commission is currently being circulated among churches for comments. A second draft, incorporating the comments, will be prepared in Stuttgart, Germany, in April.

            “The paper cites a ‘discrepancy’ between agreements achieved by theologians in ecumenical dialogues and the willingness of church leaders to put the agreements into action.

            “It also noted the emergence of new church bodies, especially in Africa, and the continued growth of evangelical and charismatic-pentecostal movements.

            “These churches are often not only non-creedal and outside the ecumenical movement but also sometimes hostile to it. That hostility is at times returned by the mainstream churches.

            “‘Finally, a crisis of authority and different structures of authority also effect ecumenical relations and dialogue,’ the paper said.

            “The 94-paragraph Dublin Text links the concept of koinoia (communion), a central theme of the World Council’s 1991 Canberra assembly, and the Faith and Order Commission’s 10-year study on the apostolic faith. The study urged that all Christian churches strive to carry on the traditions of the ancient church of the Apostles.

            “‘Through our ecumenical dialogues we can all recognize the Ecumenical Creed of Nicea-Constantinople as a central expression of the apostolic faith,’ the paper said.

            “‘But we have also learned to recognize that, in many churches which do not use the Ecumenical Creed, that the same faith is expressed in preaching, worship, sacraments, confessional statements in the life and mission of the church,’ it added.

            “‘Now, at the end of this century, we challenge all churches to find ways to recognize in each other the apostolic faith,’ it said. (By David E. Anderson — SC State Newspaper, September 19, 1992)

            There is only one True Church. God is selecting a people for His Name (Acts 15:14), in and out of all denominations, which comprise the True Church. Their names are written in heaven (Luke 10:20), and not in manmade organizations and churches. However, God approves of any group that teaches the inspired Word, especially witnessing the Kingdom. “Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.” (Acts 17:31)

            It is during this Gospel Age that God is selecting a people for His Name, to witness to the glorious Kingdom, as did Jesus, and it is a panacea for the world, who are not selected (Matt. 4:23).