Argument II

 

       

    T hroughout his essay, Dave Pack portrays the authors of A Sabbath Test as evil men driven by sinister motives. At every turn he assumes the worst in them. However, never once does he provide any proof to support his claims. He simply levels an accusation and then declares it a "Biblical fact."

    Although others have vigorously opposed A Sabbath Test, no COG leader has been so mean spirited and intellectually dishonest concerning the motivation behind it. What follows are some of Mr. Packs accusations followed by a response offered by Dennis Fischer, co-author of A Sabbath Test.

 

David C. Pack:

“It appears that the writers of the book sensed that a movement was beginning in the splinters without a spearhead. Hence, it appears that these followers aspired to the lucrative position of quasi-leaders of this trend, by virtue of offering a much bigger publication expounding their idea. Since they so obviously desire to lead this movement, one must ask, are they “teaching things they ought not for filthy lucre’s sake” (Tit. 1:11), and thus making merchandise of (II Pet. 2:3) unsuspecting brethren?"

 

Response from Dennis Fischer:

 

    Few observations could be more consumed with hate and less filled with truth. I honestly wonder if God were to ask Mr. Pack if he would be willing to stake eternal judgment on his words. I am prepared to do just that on the words that follow. Neither Mr. Braidic nor myself have ever drawn one cent for our labor on A Sabbath Test. Furthermore, our motivation has never been about “lucrative positions.” On this I will stake the second death. I am not now, nor ever have been the slightest bit interested in leading some splinter movement. What Mr. Pack has engaged in, with this comment, is nothing short of morally bankrupt. He offers speculation that better belongs on Al Jazeera, not on a Christian website.

 

David C. Pack continued:

“This towering question arises from the outset: Would Christ allow His apostle to be wrong on such a crucial point and then to be set straight or corrected, after the fact, by self-appointed “leaders” (actually lay members) arriving in the age of Laodicea? Such a prospect would be laughable, were its effects not so serious. Yet, significant numbers of weak or relatively new brethren across the landscape of God’s people seem to have bought in.”

 

Response from Dennis Fischer:

 

    By the words, “His apostle,” I assume that Mr Pack is referring to Mr. Armstrong and not himself. If this is the case he is making a great assumption. The fact of the matter is that Mr. Armstrong NEVER presented a definitive study on the subject of dining out on the Sabbath. Therefore, he was neither right nor wrong on this issue. No matter how hard some may try to argue that Mr. Armstrong spoke powerfully on this, it is simply NOT TRUE. Even he acknowledged that he never gave the issue any thought.

"Now I had never thought until this evening when the question was brought up to me about whether it was wrong to go to a restaurant to eat." HWA 1981.

   

       Once again, I am fully aware that Mr. Armstrong dined out on the Sabbath and never spoke against the practice. However, for Mr. Pack to cling to the notion that this true and faithful servant spoke definitively on the subject is wishful thinking and a disservice to his memory. Certainly, this is not a "Biblical fact," and Mr. Armstrong would be furious at anyone claiming it was.

 

    Furthermore, despite what Mr. Pack believes, we are not “self-appointed” in this issue, nor are we even “leaders” of some movement, for that matter. This might come as a surprise to him, but we do not now, nor have we ever sought a following based on this vital truth. Personally, I am a member of major COG organization and am honored to be so. If you were to speak to those who know me, including my pastor (who was personally ordained by Mr. Armstrong), they would paint a far different picture than that offered by Dave Pack. Once again, our purpose in writing A Sabbath Test was to chronicle God’s wisdom on this vital truth. I know these words gall the RCG and its leader, but they are true nonetheless. What is totally untrue is Dave Pack's assertion that we are some type of “self-appointed” profiteers. You can’t imagine how desperately we wished someone else had done it

 

 

David C. Pack continued:

“It appears that the leaders of this thinking have extended mercy “to whom they would show mercy,” in this case Mr. Armstrong, because they know this makes their doctrines more palatable to independent-minded potential converts, many of whom view him favorably and who are the ones most likely to send contributions. Yet, the facts are that they have leveled character assassination (John 8:44) at any who dare bring their doctrines to the light of the Bible, as would Mr. Armstrong.”

 

Response from Dennis Fischer:

 

    Once again Mr. Pack looks into the hearts of others and delivers his judgment. Unfortunately, despite all the practice, he is not very good at this.

 

    NOW FOR THE REAL TRUTH!

     As has been said before, I have not drawn one cent from this very important project. Furthermore, I am not now nor ever have been compensated by any COG organization or affiliate, including Blow the Trumpet. To suggest that this is my or my co-author’s motivation is a tale borne out of some distorted church view. I’m just curious, but did it ever occur to Mr. Pack that there are people who are driven by things other than wealth and power?  Once again, a question needs to be asked here. Dave Pack, are you willing to stake God’s eternal judgment on the accuracy of your statement? I am prepared to stake everything on the total absence of its accuracy.

     Furthermore, Mr. Pack's assertion that he has brought this doctrine "to the light of the Bible," is simply not true. Throughout his essay, this COG leader has repeatedly misrepresented scripture and distorted the historical record. Here is just one example of each. On at least three different occasions, Mr. Pack claims Jesus picked grain with His disciples as they walked through a field on the Sabbath. This is TOTALLY false. The scriptures very specifically state that only the disciples picked the grain--not the Messiah. This, by the way, is very telling with respect to this issue (see: Argument VI "Jesus Condoned It").

     Additionally, Mr. Pack claims that ancient Israel brought sacrifices to the temple on the weekly Sabbath and that these offerings were prepared into great feasts to be consumed by the priests and God's people. This is also TOTALLY false. Both the scriptures and the historical record declare that the children of Israel NEVER brought sacrifices on the weekly Sabbath (see: Argument IV,"Millennial Sacrifices").

        

          

David C. Pack continued:

“One reason some advocates of particular doctrines react with viciousness when their positions are brought into question is that their single-issue doctrines often represent 95 percent or more of what makes them unique, and thus their identity. Those condemning Sabbath dining out are primarily single-issue religionists set to defend their turf against any who would bring their lone doctrine into question.”

 

Response from Dennis Fischer:

    I assume the reference to “viciousness” is based on certain observations offered by Blow the Trumpet when rebutting Mr. Pack's article. However, if one examines this rebuttal carefully, he will find that it courageously addresses Mr. Pack's arguments, as opposed to attacking God's people.

         

                               Single Issue Religionists

 

    With respect to the suggestion by Mr. Pack that my co-author and I are “single issue religionists,” this is nothing other than a bad guess disguised as hard evidence. There isn't an ounce of truth in it. Sadly, Mr. Pack actually could have ascertained the fallacy of this accusation simply by employing a standard established by none other than Jesus Christ. Notice His words:  “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” (Lk. 6:45)? This being the case, consider what I and my dear friend and co-author have spoken out of the abundance of our hearts and decide for yourself if this sounds like a "single issue" doctrine. First consider Mr. Art Braidic.

 

     Mr.Braidic is one of the most prolific writers in God’s Church today. In addition to co-authoring A Sabbath Test, he has written or co-written over 25 other works. Many in God’s church regard his 300 plus page book The 144,000, to be the definitive statement on the identity of those described in the seventh and fourteenth chapters of the book of Revelation.

 

     In addition to that, Mr. Braidic has delivered virtually hundreds of messages to God’s people and only ONE has addressed the issue of dining out on the Sabbath. Furthermore, in his weekly television broadcast, The World to Come, Mr. Braidic has presented scores of messages on a wide range of topics but has yet to cover A Sabbath Test. Based on this alone, it is clear that if he is obsessing about anything, it is God’s work and not “one issue” as Mr. Pack falsely asserts.

 

    Although my credentials are not nearly as comprehensive as Mr. Braidic’s, I too have stayed very busy with numerous projects that go far beyond this debate. For example: I have written two books and co-written several booklets as well as over one hundred articles appearing on various COG and non-COG websites. My first book, It Came Without Warning, addresses the importance of preaching the gospel as a witness. It is interesting that there are some who believe that to be my “single issue.”

    A Vision, A Plan, and A Destiny

 

    However, If you ask me, my faith is declared in a book entitled A Vision, A Plan and A Destiny. I completed this endeavor in 2004 and it is my greatest joy as far as any project I have ever been associated with.

 

    The point I am trying to make is that the “one issue critic” accusation leveled by Mr. Pack is not based on evidence, but rather on emotion. It is simply an attempt by him to define me and my co-author as extremists, and therefore not to be trusted. This is not a “Biblical Fact,” it is a non-biblical deception. Once again, as with the vast majority of his evidence, this COG leader shows a total disregard for the truth. By the way, I'm just curious, but where did Dave Pack get his 95% statistic? Or, was that just snatched out of thin air as well?

 

David C. Pack continued:

“This particular false doctrine is already resulting in the “fruits” of division within various groups and congregations, creating factions within the two largest splinters, and among other segments of God’s people. While the book’s authors feel thrilled by this “progress,” and feel validated as a result of this growing turmoil, seeing it as more coming to the truth of their thinking, they are actually sowing division and bringing an ocean of blood on their own heads.”

 

Response from Dennis Fischer:

 

    This is an extraordinary accusation. It is even more so in light of its source. There isn’t a COG on earth that should understand more about division than the Restored Church of God. Mr. Pack caused enormous division when he spoke out powerfully against the WWCG and their apostasy. Mind you, I'm not complaining, it was the right thing to do. What has apparently been lost on him is that down through the ages truth has often been a great divider in God’s Church. Whether it was the first century under the apostles, or the last era of God’s work, the truth has always been a line in the sand. When it comes to this line, Dave Pack stands on one side and I stand on the other. However, I am confident this will not always be the case. I changed—so can he.

Setting the Record Straight

 

    Furthermore, contrary to what Mr. Pack claims, my "validation" comes from something far greater than any book I could write or any cause I could engage in. The fact of the matter is that I come from a spiritual bloodline of Kings. My brother is Jesus Christ and my Father is His Father. These are not just fancy words. I know them to be undeniably correct. To think that any true Christian needs to be validated by a community of followers is simply immature. I am amazed that a man who claims to respect the truth so much would actually advance such an accusation.

 

David C. Pack continued:

"Once again, we cite a particular comment from the book, A Sabbath Test, page 30: “There are some who have suggested that Nehemiah’s indictment is against those doing business with merchants selling food in open markets, not specifically restaurants. Therefore in a very technical sense, God appears to be silent on the subject of dining out on the Sabbath” (emphasis ours).

 

    Notice their admission that God is silent in prohibiting Sabbath dining out."

 

Response from Dennis Fischer:

 

    Once again Mr. Pack makes another representation that is NOT TRUE.

 

    Our point in offering the words quoted by him is that it is the people who engage in going to restaurants on the Sabbath that are making this assertion, NOT THE AUTHORS of A Sabbath Test. Mr. Pack keeps suggesting that my co-author and I are claiming this, but it just isn’t true. Perhaps I can illustrate what we mean a different way. Suppose Mr. Pack is asked during a question and answer Bible study why he goes to restaurants on the Sabbath in light of what Nehemiah says. Mr. Pack then answers:

 

“Nehemiah’s indictment is against those doing business with merchants selling food in open markets, not specifically restaurants--so technically the Bible doesn’t address the issue one way or the other. Next question please!”

 

 

David C. Pack continued:

 

"Ironically, the same scriptures upon which these modern critics base their beliefs were also in the hands of Paul and all other apostles and ministers of the early Church. When people traveled in those times, they did not always bring all their food along with them. The modern critics might consider Paul and other ordained leaders guilty of negligence for not addressing such issues in their letters."

   

       

Response from Dennis Fischer:

 

    This is a bizarre stream of logic. Unfortunately it is very typical. Did it ever occur to Mr. Pack that Paul didn’t write about buying and selling on the Sabbath because people weren’t practicing it? Let’s ask this question another way. Can Dave Pack cite one Biblical example where people purchased food on the Sabbath without being indicted for it (See: Neh. 10:31)?

 

 

Argument III

"Millennial Restaurants"

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