Your Questions about ABCOG and ABCOG's Answers

  1. Dream of uniting the churches?
  2. There are many different churches.
  3. How to start an ABCOG.
  4. You manipulate the Bible to fit your beliefs.
  5. How do you relate to the Seventh-Day Adventists?
  6. How do you relate to Speaking in Tongues?
  7. Why doesn't your Christian Bible translate the Hebrew correctly?
  8. Questions on other topics

Question: Do you have any dream of uniting all the churches?
Reply: There is no need to do this. "The Lord knows those that are His" (2 Timothy 2:19). God's children are already united in spirit, and so are already members of one spiritual body, whose head is Christ. The reason for uniting into one physical organization is to better perform God's work on this earth. But when this has been attempted, human failings have yielded less success, not more. We leave it in God's hands to direct His children.
Question: There are many different church organizations all around the world.
Reply: God allows us freedom of choice. In making choices, we make mistakes. Read the New Testament. It is full of doctrinal and procedural disagreements in the early church. But "let God be true, though every man a liar" (Romans 3:4). God can work through us despite our weaknesses and foolish differences. But we must seek Him in "sincerity and truth" [here truth does not "without any error", it means "without any deception"] (I Cor. 5:8).
Question: Please send information on how to start an ABCOG in India.
Reply: ABCOG (Active Bible Church of God) is an independent congregation situated in Chicago. We are not a denomination. We believe in following in Christ's footsteps as closely as is possible in this modern world. This includes observance of the Saturday sabbath - as He observed it. There are many similar groups and organizations around the world. Please do start another one!
Question: I think that with all your ideas and suppositions about Christ, the Apocalypse and Christianity you confuse people. I think you are correct in some aspects, but some others are very strange and illogical. You manipulate the texts so they can fit your beliefs. The only reason to do this is the money you can get from ignorant and naive people and that is not fair.
Reply: We definitely want people to think about what we write. We are glad that you find some of it correct. To the Greeks, Jesus was illogical; "Foolishness", was the word Paul used. It is only by expressing our ideas, and allowing others to respond that we find out what is good and what is not so good.
Our website is paid for by our local congregation here in Chicago as a service to all humanity. We do not ask for money. We do not want money from other people. If you wish to give us money, you must come to our local meetings in Chicago. Even in our own congregation, we do not take up "collections"; we only have an offering box on a side-table for those whom the Spirit leads to donate.
Question: I am a Seventh Day Adventist. After reading over much of the material you have posted I can see that our beliefs are very similiar and are likewise based on Bible truths. I was wondering if you could tell me what if any differences there are between your church's beliefs and those of the Seventh Day Adventist church.
Reply: ABCOG is an independent outreach. Historically we trace ourselves back to the Sabbatarian Adventist movement (as do the SDAs). The difference in direction came in 1860 as a result of a dispute about the visions of Ellen G. White, e.g., her assertion of the Trinity. We are pleased to report that, despite differences in doctrine and emphasis, we have close contacts with many SDAs.
Question: Recently, I've read an article about revival in Brownsville/Pensacola. God touched the place and all those present. But a newspaper reporter wrote all those signs were due to a false spirit. He wrote that speaking in unintelligble tongues, uncontrollable laughter and falling down when anointed don't exist in the Scripture. I didn't believe what the reporter wrote. But I know that every pentecostal/charismatic church has all these. This question comes to my mind "Are all the pentecostal churches in the world of a false spirit?"
Reply: Investigators of "speaking in tongues", (e.g., "Glossolalia", H.N. Malony and A.A. Lovekin, Oxford Univ. Press, 1985) describe apparently identical phenomena to those that you describe occurring with Christian, non-Christian, irreligious and even severely mentally handicapped speakers, often in reaction to stress. Further, the behavior is frequently encouraged and even taught by the group (rather than being a spontaneous manifestation from God).
Performance of "speaking in tongues" can be learned by any one. Interestingly, according to Malony and Lovekin, no authenticated case of religious Xenoglossia (talking in a genuine foreign language, previously unknown to the speaker) has been documented.
Since stress, mass hysteria of a suggestible audience, or even pretence can result in these signs being manifested, further evidence is required before imputing them to the Holy Spirit or demonic influence.
"Speaking in tongues" is a physical manifestation which can have many sources. The NT says: "Discern the spirits", and "by their fruits you shall know them." Do these manifestations motivate participants to lead conspicuously more godly lives or noticeably more wicked ones? Probably neither. In other words, for most participants, the "speaking in tongues" is little more than an emotional outburst. But "speaking in tongues" has caused division within many congregations and so is clearly not a fruit of the Spirit in those circumstances.
Since many sicknesses have emotional roots, emotional outbursts may indeed relieve psychosomatic symptoms leading to dramatic "healings". ABCOG firmly believes that God does heal miraculously, but He does it calmly and quietly as Jesus did.

Since "speaking in tongues" is open to obvious abuse, a prudent policy is to treat it like whistling and "talking to yourself". You can do it as much as you like, but not in Church Services.
Here is Paul's verdict: "Yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue" (I Cor. 14:19).

See: Charismata, Tongues-speaking, Healings? Is there a false Spirit of Pentecost?

Question: Why doesn't your Christian Bible translate the Hebrew correctly? Comparing the KJV and NIV Bibles to the original Hebrew text, the Stone Edition Tanach (Jewish translation), for example, reveals a number of discrepancies.
Reply: Thank you for passing on to me your concerns about Isa. 53.
I have the good fortune to be on the staff of the University of Chicago where we have some of the world's leading theologians, both Jewish and Christian. I have had the opportunity to hear them discuss the issues you raise.
There are several levels:

(a) Historical.
The earliest Christians were Jewish. They included priests. Many understood Hebrew. Others were Greek speaking. They read the Septuagint translation of the Bible, basically completed before NT times. Both groups perceived Jesus to fulfil the OT prophecies, such as those of Isaiah. Consequently, the Jewish authorities abandoned the Septuagint and produced a new anti-Christian Greek translation. They also reinterpreted the Hebrew Scriptures in an anti-Christian way. In fact, there is evidence that the early Christians perceived Jesus to fulfil more OT prophecies than we credit Him with today. Paul refers to some of these prophecies in his Epistles, but not precisely enough for us to identify them.
Interestingly, a leading Rabbi acclaimed Bar-Kochba (130 A.D.), leader of the second Jewish revolt, as the Messiah, with far less scriptural support than Jesus has. This is a source of embarrassment to Jewish religious leaders to this day.

(b) Prophetic.
No one disputes the ambiguity of many prophecies. That was how it was possible for Jesus to come to his own, and his own receive him not. For instance, every one agrees that no one expected "Rachel crying for her children" to refer to an action by King Herod. Many prophecies have multiple fulfillments. Usually they have at least an immediate one in the writer's own time, and another at the end of time. These are called the "Anti-type" and "Type" fulfilments.

(c) Translational.
Translating is an art, not a science. We are all familiar with the literal translation of "out of sight, out of mind" into "invisible idiot"! Isaiah is written in poetry. Translating poetry is even worse! Poetry is full of allusions and obscure thoughts. The translators try to bring out what they perceive to be the main intent of a passage. Obviously Jewish and Christian translators disagree. This is where a technical commentary, such as the "International Critical Commentary" is useful. Unfortunately most of these require the reader to have some knowledge of Greek and Hebrew.
In English, one of the most famous lines of poetry is "To be, or not to be?" Try asking around among your friends to find out what they think that means! No wonder we have such trouble with Hebrew poetry!

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