Tonga’s Heamasi K. Ta’ufo’ou Makes 166 UCG Ministerial Losses. What’s the Message?


The Abigail Cartwright (AC) site listed one more loss to UCG’s eldership:

  • Mr. Heamasi K. Ta’ufo’ou (Pastor, Tonga)… resigned from UCG ministry
  • Losing its Tongan pastor would seem to suggest that the ministry of UCG had problems all over the world as Tonga is fairly remote.  Note: As of this morning, Heamasi K. Ta’ufo’ou was not listed as part of COGWA on its congregations page, but that could change as COGWA seems a little slow about updating some of its web pages.

    According to the list at the AC site today, UCG has lost 166 elders/pastors/ministers since June 0f 2010. But this only represents about 1/3 of UCG’s pre-crisis eldership.  However, UCG has admitted to losing 53% of its salaried USA ministry from this crisis, so organizationally it has been hit pretty hard.  The loss of so many paid and full-time elders suggests a great level of dissatisfaction amongst the UCG ministry.

    On the other hand, I received an email from a UCG member who essentially stated that this crisis has not been an issue for his congregation and that it has not been tough for him.

    I responded to him that this has been tough for the organization as well as for those who are or were in UCG.  I also mentioned that not though not all in UCG are personally struggling about where to be, this crisis has disrupted UCG, its income, certain of its objectives, and its implication that it was united.

    Now, this UCG member did ask me the following question:

    What do you think the chance is that these men can come together to agree to support a government when they aren’t really in agreement and in many cases have failed to be able to work with any form of church governance since UCG days?

    My response was, I do not consider that their chances in COGWA are that good, but also mentioned that for various reasons, they may stay together.

    As regular readers should be aware, I do not believe that it is particularly beneficial to go from UCG to COGWA (consider Jesus’ words, “be zealous and repent” in Revelation 3:19; the type of change from UCG to COGWA does not seem consistent with being zealous or repenting to me).  In my view, the crisis in UCG could have been resolved differently.  Both sides seem to be clinging to the mistakes that some on the other side made to justify to themselves what they have done and/or are doing.  And though I am convinced that there were some mistakes made by those still in UCG and some of those who left UCG, if UCG was truly “united” in a spirit of cooperative humility the issues could have been resolved.  But now, with egos, lack of forgiveness, a compromised attitude towards proper church governance, personal vanity, and bruised feelings, the crisis keeps affecting UCG and those once part of it.

    So, what’s the message?

    Forgiveness and warnings seem to have been overlooked.

    LCG’s Dr. Winnail happened to have had the following in yesterday’s Living Church of God World Ahead Weekly Update:

    The Power of Forgiveness: One of the important keys for working together with other people is the willingness and the ability to forgive someone for real or perceived words or actions. And, that is exactly what Christians must learn to do. The Scriptures state that as individuals, we have all sinned, but that we can be forgiven because of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ who died for our sins (Romans 3:23-26; John 3:16). However, Jesus taught that we must also be ready and willing to forgive others who offend us—or God will not forgive us (Matthew 6:12-15). Forgiving others involves not holding grudges or harboring bitterness against others, not seeking to get even, and not gossiping or saying negative or derogatory things about others who have made mistakes or hurt us in some way. This is not always easy, especially when memories, emotions and personal pride are involved, but that is what we are admonished to do if we want to be real Christians—we must learn to forgive. Forgiveness is a powerful tool that makes working together with other human beings possible—and enjoyable!

    Forgiveness seems to have been overlooked by many.

    Furthermore, I believe that the UCG crisis is 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 as a 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).

    Also notice something that Isaiah was inspired to write:

    8 Now go, write it before them on a tablet,
    And note it on a scroll,
    That it may be for time to come,
    Forever and ever:
    9 That this is a rebellious people,
    Lying children,
    Children who will not hear the law of the Lord;
    10 Who say to the seers, “Do not see,”
    And to the prophets, “Do not prophesy to us right things;
    Speak to us smooth things, prophesy deceits.  (Isaiah 30:8-10)

    Many people prefer to hear “smooth things”, but I believe that pointing out these matters shows love as Jesus seemed to have pretty strong messages in the end for the people of God (cf. Revelation 3, the entire chapter).

    If you are or were part of UCG and are confused about what to do, please pray, fast, and study the Bible about this.  Note: I am not trying to say, by quoting Isaiah, that I believe that all of those in or once in UCG are intentionally lawbreakers or “Lying children”, but basically that all should be “zealous” as Jesus said in Revelation 3:19 and not be satisfied with something less than a Philadelphia type of work and form of church governance.

    Ask yourself what are the true priorities that the Bible indicates that the church most faithful to the words of Jesus would do and act appropriately.

    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?
    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 Known as COGWA, 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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