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VOLUME 2 • ISSUE 3   |   Release date: July 15, 2004

In This Issue
U.S. Constitution to be Canonized!
Apple CEO Offends
Church Dumps Free Will Offerings
Increased Home Sunday Schooling
Gibson Near Top of Name-Dropping List
Survey Results
July Church Sign of the Month

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Calvinist Church Dumps Free Will Offerings
Pastor Says New "Election Collections" Better Reflect Church Doctrine

HARTFORD, CT – The moment of conviction came at what many would see as a rather inopportune time for Hartford Community Church Pastor Jeremy Galan.

"We'd just taken one of our so-called 'free will offerings' after a singing group from Liberty University came to perform for us," Galan said. "We were counting up the money in the back to cut the group a check when I realized that what we were doing by calling this a 'free will offering' was unwittingly promoting the heretical doctrine of free will. It just goes to show you how wily Satan can be in spreading false teachings. I was absolutely stunned at the thought."

What Galan did next left those assisting him with counting the offering more than a little stunned.

"He started mumbling something about the offering being 'Lucifer's collection,'" said HCC Treasurer Jason Leo. "Then he went to the church kitchen to get some matches. He gathered up all the money - checks, cash, coins and all - and he took it out back and burned it. I couldn't believe my eyes. There had to be two, maybe even three, large in there."

After turning a disappointed singing group away with no remuneration for their performance, Galan set himself directly to the task of creating official church policy that would ban the use of the term "free will offerings" in favor of "election collections."

"I got a pretty nasty letter from Jerry Falwell," Galan said. "But doing the right thing is not always easy, and it certainly is not always popular."

Galan felt that the term "election collections" would better represent the doctrinal beliefs of his nondenominational church, which takes much of its dogma from the teachings of John Calvin. Calvin believed that God has worked his will through all of human history, as opposed to others like James Arminius and John Wesley who taught that God gives all of mankind free will. "Election" is a term used to describe Calvin's belief that God chose those who would be saved before the beginning of time.

"I want people who come to our church to know that they have absolutely nothing to do with how much money they put in that plate," Galan said. "God elected before the creation of the universe how much money will be collected in each of our offerings, and there is nothing that any human being can do to change that amount. The only 'free will' here is God's."

But it appears that some of HCC's parishioners are taking Galan's message the wrong way.

"He stands up there before every offering talking about how there's no such thing as a 'free will offering' and how God is sovereign and doesn't need our help," said longtime HCC member Rosie Herren. "I figure if God doesn't need my help, I should at least be able to shave a little off that ten percent, right?"

Herren does not appear to be alone in that sentiment. Leo tells THO that HCC's May offering numbers were off by 15 percent compared to a year ago.

"I realize he's just setting forth the doctrine of the church, but I think it can be counterproductive after a while," Leo said. "I mean, sure it's true that God doesn't need our money, but couldn't we at least save that message until after the plate is passed?"

Galan doesn't seem the least bit fazed by the faltering offering numbers.

"I'm going to preach the truth regardless of the consequences," he said. "Besides, God already knows and has planned exactly what those consequences will be, so let them come...if God wills it, which is the only way they would come anyway. You get what I'm saying."

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