With the completion of Issue 20 of Grace & Knowledge, our website now includes over 600 pages of material. Articles are arranged chronologically in Issues 1-20, and we also have compiled some topical listings of articles. The longest such listing provides links to a number of articles on subjects related to the annual biblical festival days.


There a couple of reasons why we have had so much to say about the festivals of Israel. One is the fact that we spent many years in the Worldwide Church of God (WCG), an Adventist denomination whose worship calendar centered around these annual celebrations. In 1998, when we began this magazine, the WCG had begun a process of forcing its congregations to replace their distinctive calendar with a more mainstream Christian calendar. We felt the change was unnecessary, and a defense of the validity of the traditional WCG calendar was a major focus of the first several issues of Grace & Knowledge.


We eventually left WCG, but we are still convinced of the value of a Hebraic worship calendar for Christians. Key themes of salvation history and Christian theology are intimately connected to the festivals of Israel, so we find it meaningful to return to them year after year. This is the second reason for our frequent focus on the festivals.


Issue 20 features two new festival-related articles. One of them deals with the Pentecost sermon recorded in Acts 2, in which the apostle Peter proclaimed that it was the risen Christ who had sent the Holy Spirit that day. What was the scriptural basis for Peter's statement, and what are its christological implications? Our exploration of these questions begins on page 2.


A second article explores the possible typological meaning of the two goats that were a key part of the Day of Atonement liturgy at the Tabernacle and Temple. Christian tradition has given several explanations of what the goats might symbolize. In studying these explanations, we highlight various aspects of Christ's atoning work.


Our article on the goats illustrates another recurring theme in the pages of Grace & Knowledge-the value of learning from history. This emphasis also stems in part from our experiences in the Worldwide Church of God, whose ignorance and misunderstanding of Judeo-Christian history and theology led to a great deal of error and confusion.


One particular area of confusion was the nature of God, a technical subject that the WCG lacked the theological expertise to grasp or explain properly. Thankfully, WCG leaders eventually realized the problem and were willing to gain the training needed to correct their errors. The ninth installment of our series on the Apostles' Creed discusses the personality of the Holy Spirit and the doctrine of the Trinity and describes the process by which the WCG came to accept these biblically-based teachings of orthodox Christianity.


For Christians who are learning about the Hebraic roots of their faith and come to see the negative consequences of Christianity's separation from those roots, there is often a strong temptation to cast aside the heritage of historic Christianity and try to "start from scratch." The WCG's experience provides an object lesson about the pitfalls of such an approach. Those who fail to learn from Christian history often end up recycling old heresies.

--Doug Ward




File translated from TEX by TTH, version 3.66.
12 Mar 2006, 15:08.