September - October 2000 The Sabbath Sentinel
The Churches of God Evangelistic Association
A Special BSA Report
Pictures courtesy of Peter Huizar of San Antonio,
On July 28, 2000, approximately 150 members of various different
Church of God groups met for the purpose of establishing
dialogue. Their intended goal was to seek out a way for
cooperation in preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ-the coming
Kingdom of God. The conference had been anticipated since late
last year, and advertised by this magazine, as well as The
Journal of the Churches of God and Servant's News.
The Conference opened with the keynote address by C. Wayne
Cole. In the address, he covered the question, "Why must the
Gospel of the Kingdom of God be proclaimed to all nations?"
Other points covered included the divisiveness of the "doctrine"
of the Seven Churches of Revelation 2 & 3 and, in
particular, to the brethren who are part of the Church of
God Seventh Day.
|Dixon Cartwright and Wayne Cole exchange ideas.
Mr. Cole went on to comment on how the group is attempting to
pick up the pieces of a disastrous philosophy of leadership
caused by a personality driven religion. Some initial
suggestions were, that we should be encouraging one another in
the various ministries which we have undertaken, and that we
should be encouraged to share with each other how we are thus
edifying local brethren. In the end, it was agreed on the
necessity to allow disagreement on how this project should get
done-without being disagreeable.
Next came a presentation about the difference in DNA structure
between the peoples of the earth. It was brought out that there
is a .03% difference in DNA between the different races and that
there is actually greater difference within the races than among
them. This presentation was made by Ron Willhoite and Maynard
Following the slide presentation was the open topics session,
which was conducted by Ken Westby. Various suggestions as to
current methods of preaching the gospel were made. The brethren
were encouraged to fill in forms with suggestions of their own,
or other topics that they would like to bring forward in the
David Kenders, of Loveland, Colorado, brought out the six points
of Matthew 25 in relation to preaching the Gospel. Jeff
Henderson, of San Francisco, wondered (rhetorically) about what
we can do collectively that we can't do individually. He
suggested that a non-organizational web site be created, and
that professional guidance be utilized to promote it.
Alan Ruth provides excellent insight into use of the
Internet to publish the Good News of the Kingdom.
Ken Riley of Wichita, Kansas, remarked that the advice, which he
had received from those he visited, was to be sure not to draw
circles to keep people out. Steve Tremble of Tulsa, Oklahoma,
noted that we need to learn first, then to do what we have
learned, and then finally we will be ready to teach. Arlo
Gieselman discussed his efforts at trucker's bible studies and
the success he is having there. He went on to discuss having a
booth at a local fair, and promoting the Bible Sabbath
Association (BSA) while distributing a shirt pocket
pamphlet. Allan Burlison of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, noted that
we all have a challenge to give hope to those around us. Alfred
Harrell of the Christian Leadership Academy (CLA) discussed the
opening of a college in Little Rock, Arkansas, this fall with
the intent of teaching the brethren how to preach the gospel.
Bill Hicks, of the Church of God, Seventh Day, directed our
attention to John 13:35 as a focal point of what we are trying
to accomplish. Manny Molinar saw this meeting as a catalyst for
a united effort. Terry Post of San Antonio, Texas, suggested
that we look for a vehicle that provides a common ground where
we can work together. Mr. Post's comments brought the evening
session to a close.
With so many good ideas brought out at the open session, it
became clear, in order to give everyone a chance to speak, some
time limitations would need to be imposed. To the credit of the
brethren, most observed those limitations.
The Sabbath started with a presentation, by David Antion,
concerning the essential characteristics of the Kingdom of
God. He noted that people accept things that are relevant in
their lives, and that we need to make the Gospel message
relevant. Mr. Antion went on to point out that we
cantaste the Kingdom now.
The open session contained presentations by many of the brethren
attending. Some recommendations that were offered for
consideration were CLA's School of Evangelism, global satellite
television programming, funding a non-organizational web site
and backing it up with traditional media and a college called
Maranatha College. Barnabas Grayson wondered if a full
page ad in USA Today would be an option to advertise
what we are trying to do. Louis Williams, from the Washington,
D.C. area, discussed his own efforts at public access
television. Discussion was held as to whether this type of idea
could not be incorporated into other local efforts. Also, the
idea was presented that those in areas with these capabilities
could make available their work for the use of the brethren in
other local areas.
On Sunday morning, Lawrence Gregory opened the meeting with a
review of the invitation letter sent earlier in the year. He
reiterated his desire to participate in an effort to preach the
gospel to the world. Then, he concluded with some ideas as to
what he considered the obstacles in our path.
Ken Westby was then reintroduced to present a message titled,
"Overcoming Obstacles to Proclaiming the Gospel of the
Kingdom of God." Among the points made was that death is
when sinning suddenly stops! ... Christ outlined the specifics
of our task and gave us awareness of our challenges; we also
need to be well thought out in our attempt to do what we know is
|Break-time at the Conference-just a few
of those in attendance!|
Mr. Westby went on to note that we, ourselves, are one huge
obstacle to preaching the Gospel. Mention was made that Paul
followed the lead of the Holy Spirit and so should we.
Lawrence Gregory then had the floor to conduct the final open
session. As the Conference close loomed ever closer, decisions
needed to be made. Last minute comments were made. A suggestion
was made that we needed to come away from the Conference with
something concrete in hand that we could build on.
It was suggested that two things should be done, if we agreed
that an association of brethren was going to be developed. The
first thing was that a mission statement needed to be
developed. Part of that mission statement was to give the tool a
name. It was decided that the new association would be named
"Churches of God Evangelistic Association"
The mission statement was then constructed. Amazingly, it took
only 15 minutes to hammer out the statement and its few
details. The Mission Statement agreed to was: "The
purpose of the Churches of God Evangelistic Association is to
proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ to all the world, and make
disciples of all Nations." The Conference quickly
agreed to this statement.
Finally, an interim board to put flesh on the bones had to be
formed. Many members were suggested. However, in the end, the
consensus was that Lawrence Gregory should choose men to help
him create a Constitution and necessary Bylaws and to report
back to the attendees when something concrete was decided.
The interim ad-hoc board selected by Lawrence Gregory was Royce
Mitchell, Alfred Harrell, Lawrence Gregory and Allan
Burlison. The advisory committee selected to assist this effort
was George Crow, Wayne Cole, David Antion, Ken Westby and Bill
The meeting adjourned in true Church of God style -- fifteen
minutes late. At the time of the writing of this article, the
ad-hoc committee has met via phone conference once and met
personally on August 13, 2000, in Dallas Texas. The committee
expects to have a finished platform ready to set officers by
November 2000. Lawrence Gregory reports that there have been
many calls and complements on this effort.
Editorial Note: The Constitution and By-laws were
approved by the initial formation and advisory committees and
have been sent to the brethren who attended the Tulsa
Conference. At this point four interim officers have been
elected. They are: President-Lawrence Gregory; Vice President-
Alfred Harrell; Secretary/Treasurer-Royce Mitchell, Jr.;
Parliamentarian-Allan Burlison. Monthly updates are planned
while the Association continues to build toward its stated
Stay tuned for more!
September - October 2000 The Sabbath Sentinel