COGWA’s five year anniversary

Laodicea has many ineffective structures


It was five years ago today, on December 23, 2010, that the Church of God, a Worldwide Association (COGWA) reported the following:

Announcing the

Church of God, a Worldwide Association

Today we are announcing the formation of a new international congregation of believers, the Church of God, a Worldwide Association. Our church organization incorporated on December 23, 2010 and has members, congregations and ministers around the world.

The formation of the Church of God, a Worldwide Association, results from several fundamental disagreements within United Church of God, an International Association. After numerous efforts to engage in biblical resolutions and reconciliation, all efforts failed, and a separation became inevitable.

COGWA is a split from the United Church of God (UCG).

There was a report from COGWA (titled Timeline for the Establishment of Church of God, a Worldwide Association, dated about January 3, 2011) where it basically states that it did not decide to form until after UCG essentially rejected a 12/4/10 letter and that various discussions did not happen until the week of December 13, 2010. It also says that it was not until 12/20/10 that it was proposed that COGWA be formed, and that this was somewhat based on a 12/17/10 letter from Dennis Luker, where he indicated to certain ministers that they resign and have a “peaceful separation.” Apparently, some at COGWA were concerned how UCG was portraying this. UCG, on the other hand, had been indicating that it has information that suggests that those who left it were part of some long running conspiracy.

What is the truth?

Probably a little of both. There probably are some in COGWA who had long hoped to break-away from UCG, while many there probably only recently made a decision to do so. And UCG probably has some information on the former. But in my view, they are likely to be the two sides of the same ditch. There was also controversy about how a Sabbath matter was handled in Latin America. UCG lost most of its Latin American elders in the summer of 2010, because of that and apparently governance concerns.

Although the name Church of God, a Worldwide Association was possibly only going to be temporary, on January 11, 2011, that name was formally adopted to be continued by its voting elders:

January 11, 2011 – The meetings began as Interim Board President Mike Hanisko called upon Kevin Epps for the opening prayer. Mr.Hanisko then announced the result of the ballot for our church name. Of the 118 ballots cast, 78 chose “Church of God, a Worldwide Association.” So our temporary name has now become our official name.

Since essentially all the top ministry of COGWA was originally ordained by the old Worldwide Church of God (WCG), the selection of COGWA seems logical on its surface.

COGWA made a couple of pronouncements after is started which suggest that it should proclaim the gospel:

(December 23, 2010) Our mission is to preach the gospel of the Kingdom of God to all nations and make disciples from among those whom God calls. Our doctrines are based in the first century teachings of Jesus Christ as practiced by the apostles. Our values are grounded in the biblical record. We will strive to humbly follow this example.


January 10, 2011 – …Ken Treybig then gave a presentation on preaching the gospel. We want to assure everyone that we are committed to doing this he said. Continuing, he noted that we must fulfill the commission Christ gave the Church. How we can do this with a smaller group? Perhaps it will have to be done in a measured way, most likely with an Internet focus, but also with print…

But the priority of gospel proclamation in reality, as opposed to theoretically, has been an issue for COGWA.

In its member letter of 12/06/12, COGWA’s Jim Franks wrote:

We have seen many good things happen in the Church of God, a Worldwide Association, during the past 12 months. Personally, I don’t believe for a moment that any of them happened because of our great planning, wisdom or ability…in 2013 we will be investing more funds into our media efforts for preaching the gospel and into Ministerial Services to provide care for the brethren. Our media budget was increased by 70 percent over the 2012 figure…

That is his take on it.

It took COGWA until late Spring of 2012 to put up a public proclamation website,

Despite having relatively large numbers of ministers and members, COGWA simply has not been effective in gospel proclamation,

COGWA’s main seven accomplishments since it formed seem to have been:

  1. Getting much of the paid US based ministry of the United Church of God to leave and support it.
  2. Holding the Feast of Tabernacles in many locations for several years.
  3. Getting thousands of former UCG members to support it.
  4. Finding and moving to an office in Texas.
  5. Not falling into the type of apostasy that happened because of the Tkach WCG/GCI takeover.
  6. Starting a few websites, including Foundation Institute.
  7. Coming up with a publication called Discern.

Although COGWA has claimed that public gospel proclamation was to be its top priority, it still has not been particularly effective with that. Perhaps it will start to do more in its next two years as Jim Franks suggested.

COGWA has several prophetic misunderstandings, some of which I have covered here in the past (e.g. Warning: COGWA wrong on Daniel 11:39 and Daniel 9:27).

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

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.
The Bible, Peter, Paul, John, Polycarp, Herbert W. Armstrong, Roderick C. Meredith, and Bob Thiel 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? What are some of the scriptural limits on ecclesiastical authority? Do some commit organizational idolatry? Here is a Spanish language version La Biblia, Policarpo, Herbert W. Armstrong, y Roderick C. Meredith sobre el gobierno de la Iglesia. Here is a link to a sermon titled Church Governance.
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?
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 lower level leaders? A related sermon is available titled Priority of the Philadelphia Work.
The Final Phase of the Work What is the final phase of the work? Who will lead it? Do you have the courage to support it? Here is a related YouTube video titled The Final Phase of the Work. The written article has been translated into Spanish La Fase Final de la Obra.
Leading the Final Phase of the Work Matthew 24:14 teaches “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 ” will be fulfilled and RCG is not the group doing this. Who is leading the final phase of the work? What did Herbert Armstrong and the old WCG teach about that and about prophets? Does Bob Thiel meet the criteria that the Bible and the old WCG set? What is the proof? What has the Continuing Church of God been doing? This is a sermonette length video.
The Laodicean Church Era has been predominant circa 1986 A.D. to present. The Laodiceans are non-Philadelphians who mainly descended from the old WCG or its offshoots. They do not properly understand the work or biblical prophecies and will face the Great Tribulation if they do not repent.

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