Monthly letter archive

Christian Biblical Church of God

Post Office Box 1442

Hollister, California 95024-1442


Fred R. Coulter, Minister

February 9, 2006

Dear Brethren,

As I mentioned on a recent sermon tape, Dr. William M. Comfort, president of the Chesapeake Bible College & Seminary in Ridgely, Maryland, contacted us concerning The New Testament In Its Original Order.  Some time ago, we had given him a copy.  As it turns out, he was so impressed with the commentaries and appendices on the history and preservation of the Scriptures that he called to inquire about utilizing those sections in one of his classes.  Dr. Comfort’s interest is in using certain chapters as a textbook for the school’s doctor of theology course on the history and preservation of the New Testament.

Since Gary Staszak—who wrote chapters 9-15 of the commentaries—lives close to the college, I asked him to contact Dr. Comfort and work out the details of what they needed.  We finally settled on compiling chapters 4-7 and 9-15, as well as several appendices, into a special study manual (of over 300 pages) entitled, A Short History of the Preservation of the Word of God.  The college is now using the manual as the official textbook for their course.

Dr. Comfort and his staff knew that we keep the Sabbath and holy days.  But that apparently made no difference—for they could see that the information contained in these commentaries was not available in any other textbook.  After receiving the study manual, Dr. Comfort wrote, “[It] is by far the best work that I have read on the subject.”

We are enclosing a copy Dr. Comfort’s fine recommendation and endorsement of the study manual of he New Testament commentaries (Note: The reference in his letter of 172 pages is Part One for Chapters One through Seven and the reference to an additional 147 pages is for Chapters Nine through Fifteen of the New Testament with Appendicies S, T, U, V, W an X  makes a total of 317 pages).

Very rarely has a Protestant college used research work and biblical commentary produced by a Sabbath keeping church.  In the past, it seems it has always been the reverse: Sabbath keeping churches have gone to Protestant churches for such scholarly information.  (Sadly, however, some of those churches thereafter succumbed to Protestant doctrines and abandoned Sabbath keeping in favor of Sunday.)

In producing this study manual/textbook, we made no revisions in order to specially please them (nor did they ask us to do so).  We left everything in its original form.  However, I did write a special preface, and Gary wrote an update.  In addition, we had Dr. Tom Roberts, who attended Ambassador College and graduated from the Hellenic Orthodox University in Athens, write a short history of Sabbatarian churches.  Tom is head of ministerial education for the Church of God Seventh Day in Meridian, Idaho—many of their brethren keep God’s holy days and feasts.  We have enclosed copies of the new features incorporated into the new study manual/textbook.

Passover and Night to be Much Observed

Recently, Darryl Henson, an independent elder in Utah, wrote a paper about the Passover and the Night to be Much Observed.  His paper has been circulating among various church of God groups.  In his paper, he claims that the Passover day and the NTBMO should be observed on the same day, Nisan 14, making a celebration out of the Passover.  (When you closely examine I Corinthians 11:17-34, it becomes apparent that Paul faced a similar problem in Corinth—the church there wanted to have a celebration meal on Passover night.)

In the past, the biggest controversy concerning Passover has been the 14th versus 15th issue.  This dispute, however, puts a new twist on things, because it involves a 15/14 scheme—that is, moving the NTBMO to the 14th, with Passover.  As I mention to several who had questions concerning this issue, the answers are actually in The Christian Passover.

Because some have serious questions about this proposition, I have begun a short study series explaining why it is incorrect.  On the Sabbath of February 4, I did the first study, which we have enclosed in this mailing.  In addition, Carl Franklin wrote a paper refuting Henson’s paper, exposing some of his major errors.  We have also enclosed Carl’s paper.

Look at all the various practices that different religions claim to derive from the Passover—the Jewish 15th Passover, the Catholic Eucharist and the Protestant Communion. The question also arises, “How often should it be taken—yearly, monthly, quarterly, weekly, daily, many times a day?”  Can a priest actually command God to put Jesus Christ’s literal flesh and blood into the bread and wine?

Then there is all the confusion among the churches of God—a Nisan 14 afternoon Passover, a 15th Passover, footwashing before or after the Passover ceremony, or no footwashing at all, leavened or unleavened bread, wine or grape juice, etc.  On top of that, throw into the mix the confusion caused by men’s privately devised calendars, which cause the Passover to fall on the wrong month and/or wrong day.

 Why has Satan caused so much confusion concerning the true Christian Passover—more than any other feast of God?  Because he knows that the Passover pictures the New Covenant—the promise of eternal life!  Satan and his demons do not want human beings to receive eternal life.  They know that if they can deceive ministers and religious leaders into changing the day, the time and/or the meaning of Passover—then the people will no longer be in a covenant relationship with God the Father and Jesus Christ—no longer able to receive eternal life.  Satan knows that if he can cause just a little leaven of false doctrine to be at first accepted—then he can exploit it later with more and more spiritual leaven, thereby causing additional errors.

I am simply amazed at how many false doctrines are taught in the various churches of God.  Every time I read The Journal, I am taken back by all the various doctrines people believe and ministers teach.  Today, the churches of God—with all their problems—are just like the church at Corinth.  As Paul wrote: “When you assemble together, it is not for the better but for the worse….  What is it then, brethren?  When you assemble together, each of you has a psalm, has a doctrine, has a language, has a revelation, or has an interpretation….  For God is not the author of confusion” (I Cor. 11:17; 14:26, 33).

Unfortunately, these situations arise because too many ministers fail to truly teach the Word of God.  Paul gave a solemn charge to Timothy—and to every minister—on how to teach and preach: “I charge you, therefore, in the sight of God, even the Lord Jesus Christ, Who is ready to judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom.  Preach the Word!  Be urgent in season and out of season; convict, rebuke, encourage, with all patience and doctrine.  For there shall come a time when they will not tolerate sound doctrine; but according to their own lusts they shall accumulate to themselves a great number of teachers, having ears itching to hear what satisfies their cravings; but they shall turn away their own ears from the truth; and they shall be turned aside unto myths” (II Tim. 4:1-4).

To guard against false doctrines, we are to do as the Bereans, “who received the Word with all readiness of mind and examined the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so” (Acts 17:11).  In addition, Paul commanded the brethren, “Prove all things.  Hold fast to that which is good.  Abstain from every form of wickedness” (I Thes. 5:21-22).

Waco and Houston, TexasBy the middle of this week, Dolores and I will be visiting Chad, Rachelle and Jeremy.  Then on the Sabbath, February 11, we will be in Waco, Texas, and on Sunday, the 12th, I will be in Houston.

Once again, brethren, thank you for all your love, prayers and continued support through your tithes and offerings—making it possible to reach out to many brethren and new people.  May God continue to bless you with His love, grace and mercy in all that you do.

With love in Christ Jesus,

Fred R. Coulter