COGWA’s Clyde Kilough and Fragmentation


Clyde Kilough, of the Church of God, a Worldwide Association (COGWA), posted the following at COGWA’s website:

Circumstances today, of course, find God’s people in a general state of being unsettled. We have taught for years that THE Church of God is the spiritual body comprised of all those who have received and are “led by the Spirit of God” (Romans 8:14). But over the last 20 years, the many regrettable circumstances that have led to the fragmentation of His people into various organizations have hurt and unsettled everyone.

Those who went to UCG, including those that left it and went with COGWA, were the major factor in fragmentation amongst those that can be considered part of the COGs (those who supported J. Tkach Jr. were another factor, but they are not COG). This “fragmentation” is more than “regrettable”.

In my view, this fragmentation from a carnal perspective was unnecessary (from a spiritual perspective, the separation between those who accepted the Philadelphia era work and governance and those that did not had to happen).  Ego and internal focus were big factors.

I believe that the UCG/COGWA crisis of the past year was a wake up call, a “knocking on the door” (cf. Revelation 3:20) if you will, for those in or formerly in UCG. Yet, it seems that most who are or were part of UCG have not truly understood this warning as they have tended to be satisfied with a work that was not hot (Revelation 3:14-17). This crisis affecting UCG/COGWA could be part of the final warning to those who have rejected Philadelphia-era governance and gospel proclamation priorities to get them to consider their state (Revelation 3:17-19).

I believe that COGWA’s financial priorities have confirmed my concerns here.

For example, in the rest of the 3/15/2011 letter, Clyde Kilough discusses financial matters related to COGWA.  Here is one related to public proclamation and the internet:

The obvious affordable vehicle we have for immediate use to launch gospel proclamation efforts is the Internet, and what a tool it is—the tool that reaches literally the entire world! We’ve never come close to tapping its full potential, but we certainly can begin carving out our niche. It doesn’t matter that we may be a small flock; with the power of the Internet, the gospel message has the very real capability of reaching farther, and with greater impact, than ever before. Furthermore, this is the media device that offers the greatest opportunity for broad-based ministerial and member participation. We should note that by no means does this exclude other formats of media presentation—print, radio, television, etc.

He also wrote:

…this is something we are delighted to announce—we are dedicating the first holy day offering of the Feast of Unleavened Bread entirely to preaching the gospel. This will provide the “seed money” for sowing our future efforts. In a time when we don’t have an annual budget in place and there are many hungry mouths, it will also assure that the gospel is guaranteed its seat at the resources table and that its share isn’t gobbled up before it even has a chance to get started.

Some will consider that the above is a good first step.  Those who compare that to the gospel proclaiming financial priorities of the old WCG under Herbert W. Armstrong, what was done at the start of the old GCG, or the start of the Living Church of God (LCG) will realize that COGWA obviously is relegating gospel proclamation a relatively low financial priority.  COGWA does not want to be so cold as to not do it, but neither so hot that it is a top priority (cf. Revelation 3).

As far as the internet goes, many groups have claimed that they would utilize this form of media to have an impact on the world.  FWIW, as of this morning, the Alexa popularity rating of COGWA’s website is 259,815, while the ranking for is 147,066.  Essentially what this means is that even though COGWA has claimed about 8,000 members and 170 ministers/elders, its now preferred gospel proclamation vehicle is considerably less popular than the website of a member of the Living Church of God (let alone LCG’s websites, telecasts, magazines, etc.).

Sadly, thousands associated with COGWA seem to be satisfied with that type of work. While I do not doubt that pouring a Holy Day offering into the internet will not widen COGWA’s reach, the approach espoused so far by COGWA is consistent with the concerns I have had about that group from its formation.

Of course, if gospel proclamation was truly the priority for people in COGWA, they would not have fragmented and formed COGWA in the first place, but would have supported LCG, as an LCG minister’s wife told me a few days ago.  And yes, I believe that she was right about that.  But because of groups like UCG and COGWA, gospel proclamation efforts, in my view, have been unduly fragmented.  And from a physical perspective, I do not believe that it was necessary.

Some articles of possibly related interest may include:

Attending the Church of Choice This article discusses whose choice is important to worship God; should you attend the church of your choice or the church of God’s choice?
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.
Concerns about Church of God, a Worldwide Association This seems to be the largest group that came out of the United Church of God. Here is some history and concerns about it.
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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