Perspectives on UCG’s 15 Years

Ancient Laodicea


This morning, John Carmen, a UCG member who has a blog titled Church of God Perspectives, posted the following:

UCG Cleveland Celebrates 15th Anniversary

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Last weekend was the celebration for the 15th anniversary of United Church of God in Cleveland, Ohio. I attended the event, and it was a pretty nice setup and celebration. The dinner was catered by the Madd Chef out of Brunswick, Ohio, and the food was excellent. The spiritual food was good as well!…

Some have said that UCG has gotten away from its ideals. It is certain that over the years some things for better or worse have changed, and organizations made of men do that. UCG has become more centralized, which has had its good points as well as its bad. However, I hope that it is evident that it is not an organization which will save us. We must continue on in that spirit of a grass roots movement, whether we are in UCG or not, and we must carry on the work of Christ.

One of the local elders spoke in the first split sermon on how UCG got started. One point that really hit me was how UCG started as a grass roots effort. Unlike some other organizations, it wasn’t one minister rushing off to start a following. In fact, that was part of what led to the type of governance, with its warts and its beauty spots both, that UCG has today.

And that is one perspective.  Perhaps, I should add that while I have a certain respect for John Carmen, we seem to have a different perspective when it comes to evaluating UCG.

UCG itself formed about 15 years and two months ago after a meeting in Indianapolis (which had been in the planning stages for some time prior to that).  It has never succeeded particularly well in the area of either governance nor carrying out the work of public proclamation of the Gospel of the Kingdom.  As far as UCG being “grass roots”, I will simply state that there was a movement amongst the eldership for quite some time that lay members were kept in the dark about until about the time of Indianaopolis.

From the split involving its first president, David Hulme (now president of COGaic), to its removals of presidents and board members, UCG has not been particularly united.  Its lack of high level funding and its inability to develop a high response television program have demonstrated a certain lack of focus when it comes to public proclamation of the Gospel.  UCG’s focus always has seemed to be to retain those it has and to provide for its ministry–and this has basically been documented in all of its audited financial statements.

Last week, I received the following email related to UCG:

I was browsing through the May issue of the “United News“.
On page 9 they published the General Conference of Elders “ballot results“.   What struck me was that the results revealed how divergent their views actually are.  The “NOvotes that disagreed on various options were as follows:  26%, 38%, 24%, 25%, 18%, 47%, 55%, 18%.
On the average, 31% did not agree with whatever decision was reached.  That’s a lot of “disunity”.   A group with the same frame of mind and standards should be agreeing more often, thus the “NO” votes should have been a very small percentage.
It spells trouble and more church “splits” down the road.
Its interesting, that in countless surveys I’ve come across in the news on many topics, the population is often split in “thirds“… with about 33% having divergent views.

That’s another perspective.

Now, notice what Jesus taught:

18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them. (Matthew 7:18-20)

And that is THE perspective.  And from that perspective, I do not believe that UCG has lived up to the ideals that Christ set for His church.  It is not that UCG is always “cold”, but it never has been “hot” when it comes to doing the work (cf. Revelation 3:15-16).

Even its last chairman, Roy Holladay, wrote the following this Spring:

This letter is to inform you of a decision reached today between the Council of Elders and President Clyde Kilough. The Council held an executive session teleconference on April 8, 2010, where it was decided that a change in the office of president of the United Church of God was needed. Since Mr. Kilough had previously indicated that if the Council desired a change in the office of president, he would likely be willing to resign, the Council decided to ask him for his resignation as president…

Today I accepted the resignations of Jim Franks as Ministerial Services operation manager and Larry Salyer as Media operation manager…

While it may not have been evident to the membership at large, in recent months a serious level of conflict existed about certain issues between the Council of Elders and some administrators…

During these past months, certain administrators severely disagreed with the oversight and direction that the Council was providing, even though they are bound by the bylaws of the Church to support it.

Three “certain administrators” resigned their positions in UCG, yet one was confirmed to remain on the Council (see UCG’s Jim Franks Confirmed to Remain on Council).  But Roy Holladay will not be continuing himself (see Melvin Rhodes to Be UCG Chairman as Roy Holladay Steps Down).  Keeping Jim Franks on the Council while at the same time suggesting that he violated bylaws he was bound to support, suggests that Roy Holladay cannot possibly believe that UCG is currently doing what he feels it needs to be doing.

Thus, that seems to be an admission that UCG has not truly been united from a governance perspective.

For the past 15 years, UCG has demonstrated a relatively ineffective form of governance and an inability to truly focus on a hot work.  And I believe this is a factually documented perspective.

Some articles of possibly related interest may include:

Polycarp, Herbert W. Armstrong, and Roderick C. Meredith on Church Government What form of governance did the early church have? Was it hierarchical? Which form of governance would one expect to have in the Philadelphia remnant? The people decide and/or committee forms, odd dictatorships, or the same type that the Philadelphia era itself had?
Differences between the Living Church of God and United Church of God This article provides quotes information from the two largest groups which had their origins in WCG as well as commentary.
There are Many COGs: Why Support the Living Church of God? This is an article for those who wish to more easily sort out the different COGs. It really should be a MUST READ for current and former WCG/GCI members or any interested in supporting the faithful church. It also explains a lot of what the COGs are all about.
Should the Church Still Try to Place its Top Priority on Proclaiming the Gospel or Did Herbert W. Armstrong Change that Priority for the Work? Some say the Church should mainly feed the flock now as that is what Herbert W. Armstrong reportedly said. Is that what he said? Is that what the Bible says? What did Paul and Herbert W. Armstrong expect from evangelists?
The Laodicean Church Era has been predominant circa 1986 A.D. to present. These are non-Philadelphians who mainly descended from the old WCG.

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