Letters From Our Readers: July/August 2015

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Letters From Our Readers

July/August 2015

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Comments about the May-June issue

Thank you for the thought-provoking article “The Power of the Holy Spirit .” I am a Christian and spend many hours reading the Bible. I love listening to and reading the many educational programs and articles the United Church of God produces. They are a huge help and a considerable comfort to me.

From the Internet

I prayed and asked God to give me strength and wisdom when I am with my other religious friends in my daily life. Your article “The Parable of the Tares : God’s Field” was God’s answer to my prayer. I thank God for speaking to me through this article.

From the Internet

Regarding your article “Choose the Best Answer ,” the best answer would be “Choosing to love God as He has chosen to love those who love Him.” Your website is wonderful because you have lots of Bible studies available to help people understand the Bible. Thank you!

From the Internet

Thanks for the recent issue on Easter

I just received my copy of your wonderful magazine that focuses on Easter. It explains the truth and has taken away all the confusion I once had. I know other people who I think really need to read your magazine too. They need to believe the truth instead of the lies they have been told.

From the Internet

Thank you for sending me the March-April 2015 issue of The Good News. I have told so many people about the story behind Easter. I am amazed that we all have been deceived for so long. One of my Christian friends wants to take the magazine to his homeland to show all his Christian friends in that region.

Reader in Adelaide, South Australia

Thank you for the positive feedback! Always feel free to share your copy of our magazine with your friends, family and acquaintances. You can also share links from our website with them or send a gift copy by contacting the office nearest you in the front of the magazine or clicking on the “Free Subscription” link on our website.

Appreciation for literature and Beyond Today TV program

Thank you very much for your literature. All of it is deep in the knowledge of God’s Word; it is a wonderful way of learning and growing. It has really given me more insight into Christianity and how to practice it. Please keep spreading this knowledge more and more. Thank you for showing me true Christianity and the truth of God’s Word.

Reader in Khayelitsha, South Africa

Thank you for sending your booklet Holidays or Holy Days: Does It Matter Which Days We Observe? I wish I could find the words to let you know how on-target your teaching on this subject is. I think it’s great for Christians to keep up with the times and address current concerns. I also think Christians need to ponder their calling and constantly keep trying to do well. I find it so lovely how you have caught the attention of other Christians in the right way. Thank you wholeheartily and collectively.

From the Internet

Your publications have been so helpful in directing my Christian friends and relatives to the scriptures that answer so many of their questions. Seeing their excitement in putting the pieces together is exciting for me as well, and strengthens my faith. There is so little I can do physically after surviving life-threatening health incidents, but perhaps God has given me more time to plant a few seeds of knowledge in the hearts of others.

From the Internet

There are not enough words to express my gratitude to God for opening my spiritual eyes to read His true words and for your endless work you’re doing for our Lord Jesus Christ and God’s Kingdom. May God continue to bless you for blessing me with God’s truth and every booklet you have sent me.

Reader in Harrow, England

I seldom miss the Beyond Today TV program . God bless you for preaching the truth about God’s Word.

Viewer in Saskatchewan, Canada

Legalistic articles?

I moved into a new house two years ago and have been receiving this magazine from the subscription of the previous homeowner. I wish I could say that the publication has been a blessing to my housemates and me. As a young Bible-believing evangelical, I would read your magazine with hope, but would quickly be disappointed after turning the last page.

One theme running deep in your magazine is the concept of legalism (like that of the Pharisees). As a small example, your latest issue’s final article attempts to convince readers of the dangers of tattoos. There certainly can be downsides to getting a tattoo on a whim, but in my experience there are many solid Christians who have decided to get tattoos as personal reminders of Christ’s work in their lives. There are many more examples of this thread of legalism but for lack of time and printing space, I will leave it to one for today.

Reader in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

The United Church of God, which publishes The Good News, looks to the Bible as its source for every belief, practice and teaching. Our approach is to let the Bible interpret the Bible. Jesus explicitly stated that He did not come to abolish the law (Matthew 5:17 Matthew 5:17Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.
American King James Version×
). While various physical ordinances such as animal sacrifices are not now required of us, as we are sanctified by the work of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit (see Hebrews 9:26 Hebrews 9:26For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world has he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.
American King James Version×
; Hebrews 10:1-14), we must nevertheless follow the spiritual intent of the law, applying its principles to our lives today. The New Covenant that Jesus instituted involves God writing His law on our hearts (see Jeremiah 31:33 Jeremiah 31:33But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, said the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.
American King James Version×
; Hebrews 8:10 Hebrews 8:10For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, said the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:
American King James Version×
). What could that mean other than that we are to strive to obey what God told us to do?

As mentioned in the article, there is a specific command against getting tattoos (Leviticus 19:28 Leviticus 19:28You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks on you: I am the LORD.
American King James Version×
). So is it legalistic to apply that to our day? Using a tattoo as a Christian witness does not make it acceptable. The Christian world has adopted pagan holidays in supposed promotion of Christ—but God says this is forbidden (see Deuteronomy 12:29-32 Deuteronomy 12:29-32 29 When the LORD your God shall cut off the nations from before you, where you go to possess them, and you succeed them, and dwell in their land; 30 Take heed to yourself that you be not snared by following them, after that they be destroyed from before you; and that you inquire not after their gods, saying, How did these nations serve their gods? even so will I do likewise. 31 You shall not do so to the LORD your God: for every abomination to the LORD, which he hates, have they done to their gods; for even their sons and their daughters they have burnt in the fire to their gods. 32 What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: you shall not add thereto, nor diminish from it.
American King James Version×
). God will not accept acts meant to honor Him if they are disobedient (see 1 Samuel 15:22-23 1 Samuel 15:22-23 22 And Samuel said, Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams. 23 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, he has also rejected you from being king.
American King James Version×
).

And as to the point about our teaching being reminiscent of the Pharisees, Jesus criticized their hypocrisy—promoting human tradition over biblical law and seeking the appearance of righteousness (Matthew 15:1-9 Matthew 15:1-9 1 Then came to Jesus scribes and Pharisees, which were of Jerusalem, saying, 2 Why do your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread. 3 But he answered and said to them, Why do you also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition? 4 For God commanded, saying, Honor your father and mother: and, He that curses father or mother, let him die the death. 5 But you say, Whoever shall say to his father or his mother, It is a gift, by whatever you might be profited by me; 6 And honor not his father or his mother, he shall be free. Thus have you made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition. 7 You hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, 8 This people draws near to me with their mouth, and honors me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. 9 But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.
American King James Version×
; Matthew 23:1-36). Jesus said that our righteousness must exceed theirs and that if we are to inherit eternal life, we must keep God’s commandments (Matthew 5:20 Matthew 5:20For I say to you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.
American King James Version×
; Matthew 19:17).

We offer a free comprehensive book that thoroughly explores this subject. It’s called The New Covenant: Does It Abolish God’s Law ? See especially its sidebar “Confusion Over Legalism: What It Is and Isn’t ”.

Looking for a congregation to attend

We are interested in any meetings of your church in this area. We have been members of a Baptist church nearby, but after conducting some Bible studies, we now know that most ministers in this country are basically walking away from the teachings of the Bible. They don’t teach things like observing the Holy Days. Your magazine is a true blessing.

Reader in Texas

I thank my Heavenly Father for your website. I have been “hungry and thirsty for righteousness” like it says in Matthew 6:6 Matthew 6:6But you, when you pray, enter into your closet, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father which is in secret; and your Father which sees in secret shall reward you openly.
American King James Version×
, looking for understanding about the Kingdom of God, and I was brought to UCG.org. Brothers, all of you at the United Church of God are doing a great job. Your booklet The Gospel of the Kingdom changed my entire Christian life. I would like to know whether there is a UCG congregation near me. God bless your work of preaching the Kingdom of God. Thank you once again. I am looking forward to understanding better.

Bangalore, India

We’re glad to hear that you are interested in finding other believers to fellowship with near you! Please go to our website ucg.org/congregations/all to find our congregation nearest you with contact information.

Helping support The Good News

I enclose a donation towards your very welcome magazine. It is a great comfort to me at my age of nearly 85. I find time is going so fast these days. I wonder if God is speeding up the world for Christ’s second coming. I cannot imagine a more wonderful sight.

Reader in St. Leonards-on-Sea, England

Thank you so much for your wonderful magazine. I have just finished rereading the article “If a Man Dies, Will He Live Again? ”from theMay-June 2014 issue. I found it so interesting, and it has answered my questions. I enjoy The Good News so much and appreciate all you are doing to spread the gospel. Please find enclosed my small donation towards the good work you do. Thank you most sincerely.

Reader in Forrest Beach, Queensland, Australia

I will send donations to you within the next few days. We thank God so much because there is no one I know who gives subscriptions for free, especially in these times of economic crises. You’re truly God’s instrument through information dissemination of God’s plan for salvation. Your magazine is a thousand times better than others. May God shower blessings on your organization!

Reader in Iloilo City, Philippines

We greatly appreciate donations to help distribute The Good News free to readers all over the world. Those who wish to join us in this effort can send donations to the nearest office listed on the contact webpage .

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