COGA Rationalizes Away Most Public Gospel Proclamation

Laodicea is full of ineffective structures


Because of the United Church of God (UCG) crisis with Latin America and certain USA ministers, some of those that departed from UCG formed Church of God – America (which I reported about a few weeks ago, see COG America: A Group of Former UCG Ministers).

COGA, perhaps realizing that it may have tight finances, but definitely realizing that its heart is not into public proclamation of the gospel, listed the following at its website:

Having chosen to associate in a supportive way, we commit to the following:

1. To put Matthew 6:33 as the first priority.

2. To participate in a Daily Bible Reading program

3. To implement the Ephesians 4:12-16 model.

4. To practice Matthew 18:15-18 and 1 Timothy 5:19-20.

5. To manage finances responsibly.

6. To preach the gospel.

So gospel proclamation is admitted to be its lowest priority on public commitment.  It seems to have governance as third.

In what I consider to be an attempt to rationalize its low priority on gospel proclamation, it wrote the following its commitments:

What does this mean in practical terms?

1. To put Matthew 6:33 as the first priority.

It is always good to put first the things God and Christ say to put first—loving God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength; seeking first His Kingdom and His righteousness.

If we fail to put these first, we can justify unrighteous actions–if they support something important to us such as doing a work. If we fail to reinforce the top priorities, we will fill those places with what seems right to us at the time.

At times the success of a church or of a minister has been measured on how much enthusiasm we have for preaching the gospel. Preaching the gospel is important, but it must not take precedence over the two things Christ said to put first: seeking the Kingdom and seeking God’s righteousness. Part of seeking the Kingdom is to preach it in preparation for Christ’s return. We will do this collectively as we have funds and manpower to do so…

6. To preach the gospel.

As part of preaching the gospel, we will build stable congregations to receive the people God calls. We will witness personally by being able to answer questions about our faith with confidence and accuracy. We will promote congregations sharing an Internet presence to preach the gospel. (Acts 1:8)

I consider that COGA’s approach is at best Laodicean.  This differs from what COGW put out last week (see New Group: Church of God, a Worldwide Association),  How closely the two groups, and for how long, will cooperate will be seen.  But since Ken Giese holds the position of  “Director: Advisory Board” for International Ambassador Outreach, is apparently a founding member of COGW, and apparently concurred with IAO’s funding of projects related to COGA, there is a link.  And this may be disturbing for those in COGW because it claims its “mission is to preach the gospel of the Kingdom of God to all nations and make disciples from among those whom God calls.”

Yet, COGA’s priorities show that it had no real intention to fulfill Matthew 24:14, or the order of priorities in Matthew 28:19-20.

And while placing Matthew 6:33 as its first commitment may help some rationalize against placing proper priority on public proclamation, I believe that listing that actually shows significant carnality on COGA’s part.  Let’s quote and look at the context of that scripture:

25 “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?  26 Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?  27 Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?

28 “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin;  29 and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.  30 Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?

31 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’  32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.  33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.  34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.  (Matthew 6:25-34, NKJV)

Notice that Jesus was telling His followers not to be worried about carnal matters like what they would eat, but instead be oriented towards the kingdom of God in their personal lives.  Yet, COGA suggests that this gets them out of gospel preaching commitments like Matthew 24:14; 28:19.

Notice what Matthew 24:14 states:

14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come. (Matthew 24:14)

COGA does not seem to feel that it needs to preach that gospel much to the world as a witness as long as it declares that simply seeking God’s kingdom is a top commitment.  This seems a bit on the selfish side.  In my view, COGA really is off track in its rationalization of its commitments.

Larry Salyer who is a director at COGA is also a director of International Ambassador Outreach (IAO).  IAO’s 12/01/10 press release began with:

International Ambassador Outreach (IAO) was formed in 2010 to help support the financial needs of congregations and care for members of the Church of God…

(For more details, please see the article UCG, IAOM, LCG, and Other UCG Options.)

It has been, and remains, my view that the first purpose of COGA is to keep ministers employed, and that pretty much everything else is a lower priority.  And this opinion is not only based upon its publicly admitted (as viewed on 12/23/10) list of commitments, but also on the fact that International Ambassador Outreach originally formed essentially to fund the Latin American ministers and then was expanded to include funding of other UCG ministers who might leave that organization.

This is not to say that the COGA ministers did not have any legitimate grievances against UCG (or UCG towards them, for that matter), but I see at best a Laodicean work is the goal for COGA.  If there are any Philadelphians considering COGA, they need to reconsider as COGA’s foundations seem to be highly Laodicean.

Remember, it was Jesus who condemned the Laodiceans for their work (Revelation 3:14-19), but He praised the Philadelphians for theirs (Revelation 3:7-10).  Not only is COGA’s commitments at best lukewarm, they definitely are different than that of the Philadelphian church.

As regular readers of this page are aware, I strongly believe that it can be demonstrated that it is the Living Church of God (LCG) which holds fast to the truths that were restored to the Philadelphia era of the Church of God–all of them.  And that simply is not something that UCG has done–and that is an undisputed fact.  Furthemore, only LCG has kept up with the same proportionate results in television and other areas of public proclamation that the group that the late Herbert W. Armstrong once led under Jesus Christ did.  And COGA is publicly admitting that it will not only not do that, that it will barely ever try.

While trying not to question the sincerity of the ministers in COGA (or COGW for that matter), public proclamation statements from those in the UCG ministry over the past 15 years simply has not resulted in a public proclamation work that I would describe as any better than lukewarm.

Although there are other COGs (and there are articles on how about two dozen of them differ from the Philadelphia standard at the COGwriter home page), only the Living Church of God meets the two standards for Philadelphia that Jesus set and that were confirmed in more detail by the late Herbert W. Armstrong.  And historically, LCG has “put its money where its mouth is” when it comes to public proclamation of the gospel.

If you are in UCG, confused about UCG/COGA/COGW, or have nothing to do with UCG but wish to support the most faithful church on earth today, please pray, study, fast, and compare what LCG is doing with your own Bible.  Are you, or the group you may be associated with, cold or lukewarm?

The following articles may assist you in doing this:

18 Truths Restored to the Churches of God Herbert W. Armstrong wrote that he felt he had restored at least 18 lost truths to the Church, here is Herbert W. Armstrong’s list given 12/17/83. This articles also has links to show that these truths were believed by professors of Christ in earlier times, hence they were not some invention of Herbert Armstrong.
Do You Believe God Used Herbert W. Armstrong to Raise Up the Philadelphia Era of the Church of God? Nearly everyone while in WCG used to believe this, most do not seem to anymore.
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?
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?
Unity: Which COG for You? Why so many groups? Why is there lack of unity in the Churches of God? Has it always been this way? What can/should be done about it?
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.
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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