UCG Crisis May Have Widened

Ancient Laodicea


Abigail Cartwright’s site reported a letter that UCG supporter John Carmack suspects is real that has 110 elders on the list, with others supposedly supporting it after the fact.  Here is some of it:

Dear President Luker,

This open letter is being sent to you as the chief executive officer of the United Church of God (UCG) from current pastors, former pastors and otherwise employed elders in good standing of the General Conference of Elders of the United Church of God, an International Association. We write with deep concern over the conduct of the current administration and the Council of Elders, a concern shared by numerous non salaried elders, many of whom would readily add their names to this letter.

We have supported the governmental system agreed upon in 1995 and this letter is a confirmation of working within that system. Our deepest hope is the complete healing and the effective continuation of the UCG…
No one doubts that the UCG is in a dire crisis…

Your letter of November 4, 2010 attacks the ministry in general and contains a number of misleading and false accusations. Among them are attempts to link ministers and members who have sincere disagreements with the administration to a handful of people posting extreme or ungodly views on Internet sites. Less than two decades ago, most of us were accused of being divisive, rebellious and satanic in our previous association, and it deeply grieves us to find ourselves in a similar toxic environment in the UCG…

At the heart of our immediate concern is a pattern of wrongly equating loyalty to God’s government with submission to human organizational authority and then labeling as disloyal or rebellious any who express concerns over leadership’s decisions and methods. Recent home office documents, letters and recorded sermons have repeatedly contained negative accusations about supposed plots to sabotage our governing documents, to start a new church and that there is a spirit of rebellion in our ministers. This barrage of accusation and inaccuracy is disheartening the members; it is wearing down the church and it is causing increasing frustration among the ministry and the membership.

Unknown to many members, the administration has engaged in punitive action against certain pastors, accusing them of disloyalty to Christ, when what they have done—conscientiously and respectfully—is voice disagreement with doctrinal statements that they deemed unsound. Or, they expressed concern over administrative decisions that these ministers believed to be outside the bounds of our governing documents or Christ-like management. This pattern of punitive behavior does not follow the biblical or organizational standards.

I would have posted about this yesterday, but I have waited to see if there was an available official response by UCG’s COE, but as of a few moments ago, I have not found any.

It is interesting that both those who apparently support the above letter and those that are on the UCG Council recognize the problem is governance.

As I have written for well over a decade, UCG’s form of governance is not biblical and has caused it problems.  People in UCG can pretend otherwise, but there is really only one sanctioned form of governance in scripture.  And that is from the top down.

While the Bible encourages that leaders receive counsel and true Christian leaders must be servant leaders, the Bible clearly teaches a hierarchical form of governance (cf. 1 Corinthians 12:28-30; Ephesians 4:11-16).  Pretending otherwise is a biblical mistake.

A hierarchical form of governance was what the early first and second century church had. UCG seems to want to overlook this.  And it has had governance and administration issues as a result

The “chickens are coming home to roost” (to cite an American cliche) as far as UCG’s governance is concerned.

I would add that while not all the fruits of UCG’s governance have been particularly good, not all the fruits have always appeared bad.  Others may disagree, but a more important point is that UCG simply has not had the fruits from its public proclamation of the gospel (including its telecast) that LCG has had.  In UCG’s entire 15 1/2 years of existence has gotten about the same number of respondents to its telecast as LCG gets every four months.  Considering that UCG has more money, more members, and more ministers, this should set off alarms in the minds of those who believe that the focus of the Church of God should be to fulfill Matthew 24:14 as well as follow the order of priorities that Jesus listed in Matthew 28:19-20:

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)

19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,  20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. (Matthew 28:19-20)

What about you?  Do you believe that you should support the group better fulfilling Matthew 24:14 in proclaiming the gospel of the world as a witness or a group with a form of governance that has been relatively ineffective in that mission?

Will you follow the criteria of the Bible or your own?  Please look at the UCG fruits, look at what the Bible teaches, and pray and ask what God would have you do.

Any interested in supporting the remnant of the Philadelphia era of the COG should prayerfully check out LCG.

Those not interested will either remain part of UCG (or where ever they are), go with one of the former UCG break-away ministers/groups, go somewhere else, or drop out. God will hold all accountable for what they do and do not do.

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.
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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