October 29th, 2020
Greetings from Charlotte,
I had a very profitable and enjoyable visit to Texas last weekend, where I announced the hire of Mr. Alex Celan to the full-time ministry. We had over 110 attending in person, plus a number of individuals and outlying congregations livestreaming services. As many of you are aware and have been praying about, Mr. Htoowah Laybeh was in Charlotte for the Ministerial Conference in March, which had to be cancelled due to the rapidly evolving COVID situation. His wife and daughter were in England at the time. Mr. Laybeh was able to return to Thailand, but his family ended up stuck in the U.K. due to the pandemic. We received this encouraging note from him: “Just wanted to touch base with you regarding the situation of [his wife and daughter] returning to Thailand. As scheduled, both arrived back in Bangkok safely on Monday 19th October. Upon arrival and after having gone through the immigration, they were taken straight to the Alternative State Quarantine centre/hotel. Due to strict controls/measures in place, I was not allowed to see them; however, I was able to stand outside the hotel and see them from the street while they were looking down from their window from the third floor.” Perhaps this gives some perspective for most of us when we think of our own trials this past year. Of course, that does not minimize the severe trials some have had with the loss of loved ones or other truly challenging circumstances. Congratulations to the Laybeh family, as they should be finally reunited next week if all goes well, after nine months of separation.—Gerald Weston
Charlotte Family Weekend 2020
The Charlotte, North Carolina, congregation will be hosting its annual Charlotte Family Weekend this year! The dates for the event will be arrival on Thursday evening, December 24, with departure on Sunday morning, December 27. See the tentative schedule below. Because of state regulations, this year will present a unique version of the weekend that we believe you will still thoroughly enjoy. If you are interested in attending the Charlotte Family Weekend this year, please take a moment to fill out the pre-registration form, which can be found in the link below. This form will be used for planning purposes, and is not a full commitment to attend, but is rather a tool for us to measure interest in the weekend. Your responses by November 6 will be much appreciated. (Login to MyLCG to Pre-Register)
Rooms at the Embassy Suites Concord will cost $109 (plus tax) per night, and that includes two plated breakfasts. Additional details will be forthcoming in the next couple of weeks.
We hope to see you here in less than two months at the Charlotte Family Weekend 2020!
- Thursday evening, December 24 – Arrival
- Friday, December 25 – Morning seminars / Afternoon activities / Friday night Bible Study
- Saturday, December 26 – Afternoon Sabbath Services / Evening plated dinner / Saturday night Talent Show
- Sunday Morning, December 27 – Departure
While most of our coursework is in English, we do have 24 children’s lessons in Spanish! If you’d like to take a look at them, go to https://www.lcgeducation.org/childrens-lesson-page-spanish/. In addition, we’re working on producing our first French-language component. The “Prayer” unit from our “Tools for Christian Growth” is scheduled to be available in French later this fall! If you’d like to receive notifications about special projects and keep up with the latest news from Living Education, just subscribe to our weekly update. Go to lcgeducation.org and click on the “Subscribe” button near the bottom of the page.—Jonathan McNair
Perseverance—A Vital Quality: Perseverance is an important law of success. The word “perseverance” is defined as tenacity, remaining steadfast under pressure, and determined continuation along a chosen course in spite of difficulties and opposition. The Scriptures emphasize the importance of this vital quality. Solomon wrote, “If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small” (Proverbs 24:10). Jesus stressed, “he who endures to the end will be saved” (Matthew 10:22; 24:13). The Parable of the Sower explains the consequences of compromising when we face temptations or become distracted or discouraged or buckle under when we encounter difficulties and trials (Matthew 13:18–23). The Apostle Paul warned, “let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart” (Galatians 6:9). The Apostle John offers the same advice to the Philadelphia Era of the Church: “Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world…. Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown” (Revelation 3:10–11). When trials and difficulties come our way, let’s remember this important advice and be determined to persevere!
Have a profitable Sabbath,
Douglas S. Winnail
News and Prophecy—October 29, 2020
Pope Calls for One World Government: In his latest encyclical letter, Fratelli Tutti, Pope Francis spoke of a need for all nations of the world to submit their governmental powers to a reformed and more powerful United Nations in the hope of leading to one world government to benefit all mankind. He noted that the time is now right to make this move, since globalized economic conditions in the twenty-first century have weakened the political power of nation states. A single, global authority, he wrote, “ought at least to promote more effective world organizations, equipped with the power to provide for the global common good, the elimination of hunger and poverty and the sure defense of fundamental human rights.” Francis further suggested that his ally, the UN, would need to be reformed in order to handle such a responsibility, citing the desire of his predecessor, Pope Benedict, to see “real teeth” given to the idea of international governance. He recommends that any reform should include clear limits that would prevent any one nation or small group of nations from having too much power. Francis also called for a standardization of the rule of law across all nations.
End-time Bible prophecies do describe a coming powerful government that will influence the entire world. That future European power will involve ten rulers, or perhaps nations, who “give their power” over to a central government run by a man referred to in prophecy as “the beast.” This political and military powerhouse will be supported by a great and deceptive world church (see Revelation 13 and 17). To learn more about coming events that will surprise the world, be sure to read or listen to “The Coming One-World Government!”
Papal Approval of Same-Sex Civil Unions: In a television interview recorded last year, Pope Francis made clear comments endorsing same-sex civil unions and called for legislation to protect these unions (Associated Press, October 22, 2020). During his time as the archbishop of Buenos Aires, “Francis endorsed civil unions for gay couples as an alternative to same-sex marriages. However, he had never come out publicly in favor of legal protections for civil unions as pope, and no pontiff before him had, either.” In a newly premiered documentary, Francis said that homosexuals “have the right to be in a family, since they are ‘children of God.’” And he went further, saying, “What we have to have is a civil union law; that way they are legally covered.”
The footage apparently came from an interview recorded in May 2019 with Mexican broadcaster Televisa. The clip was not originally included when the interview aired, and the Vatican’s official copy of the interview as well as their official transcript do not contain these papal comments. Papal interviews are frequently edited for controversial content, and the footage was obtained by the movie producer, who was given access to Vatican archives. Many observers have noted that the pope’s comments contradict official Vatican teaching.
Francis, believed by individuals worldwide to be “Vicar of Christ,” holds a powerful and authoritative sway over the teaching and doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church. If that organization begins to further degrade its stances on the biblical family, biblical marriage between a man and a woman, and the sin of homosexuality, the move will be highly significant. The Roman Catholic Church has a long history of departing from biblical teachings to make proselytizing easier and add “converts” to its membership. If Francis, in an effort to create a more welcoming tone in the church, leads his church even further away from clearly biblical doctrine and morality, what other changes might lie ahead? For more on the future of morality, watch our telecast “The End of Morality?”—Scott Winnail, Richard Ames, Richard Franz, Chris Sookdeo, and Francine Prater