UCG Having More Dissent

Has Winter Hit UCG in the Spring?


In its UCG Weekly news and updates from www.ucg.org :: May 22, 2008 email, that email left out any news or comments about its council meetings. But apparently, that has not stopped UCG elder Joel Meeker for making his own comments.

Before getting into that news, I perhaps should mention that UCG has two councils. A Council of Elders (further referred to as the Council), normally consisting of about a dozen leaders, who tend to run UCG (or at least manage its president who is supposed to have the day-to-day administrative responsibilities).

UCG also has a General Council of Elders (GCE), which consists of basically all the credentialled and accepted elders in UCG. In theory, it is the General Council of Elders which actually have the power to completely run/change any aspect of UCG. But the Council has often been less than pleased with some of the decisions (and what it sometimes senses as stalls) from the GCE.

The following is from Gavin Rumney’s site where it is claimed that this came from a UCG elders’ online forum. Since I have never gone to a UCG elders’ forum, I will presume that perhaps it checks identities–but even if not, and even if Joel Meeker did not write this, this report does seem to show some dissent in UCG over the latest incidents (for prior details please see UCG Keeps Aaron Dean on Council and Votes to Rescind Texas Move and UCG Reports on Its COE Meeting):

To: [UCG Elders Forum]

Sent: Thu, 22 May 2008 5:27 am

Subject: EF: Requiem for truth and honor

Joel Meeker, Milford OH

There have been times in the history of the United Church of God when I’ve been very proud of this association. There have been times when we’ve come through trials or temptations with our heads high, and our GCE or COE or particular leaders have performed with distinction.

But now we’ve disgraced ourselves as a body and I for one am ashamed to be part of this General Conference of Elders.

Last year we prayed and fasted and voted on relocation and it was finally approved by 7 votes. This year we were assured that revisiting the decision would bring unity and closure and everyone would be “brought on board.” We fasted and prayed and the relocation was canceled by 10 votes. So far I haven’t heard anyone who was so morally indignant last year, complain about this obvious lack of consensus; that this decision was made by such a slender margin. But that wouldn’t be due to a double standard, or situation ethics….

This year 9 fewer men voted against the move, 34 fewer men voted to support the relocation. So 43 men, nearly 10% of our GCE, were discouraged enough or disgusted enough or far enough along in the process of disengaging from the GCE that they didn’t vote this year when they had last year. Thank you for the new unity, and for getting everyone on board. Or is that silence you hear the sound of some more saints having been worn out?

What does this prove: that 10 is more than 7 so God has finally spoken? Does God work through misinformation, innuendo, and railing accusations against the brothers we have chosen for our administration? Does He accomplish His will through furtive slanderous internet forums and personal attacks? I guess we’re supposed to believe so. Thus far those who were in favor of the relocation have generally behaved with decorum and respect, so I expect this issue will remain a dead letter now for some time. Some elders do have a sense of propriety and shame. Would that it had been so with those who worked so hard, with so much misleading misinformation to defeat it. Yes, I’m ashamed to be part of an association that supposedly repudiates factions – where a faction can behave with such cunning ruthlessness and contempt for the truth, and still win its own will.

The most telling blow and the most shameful to us, however, is that an elder who blatantly defied the lawful decision of our president – made in the best interest of the Church, a man who according to the Council showed no repentance or remorse and stated plainly he might do the same thing again any time he chose, who thereby soiled all respect for our rules, our policies, our leaders and anyone who doesn’t agree with his own personal view of “God’s will,” a man who was censured by our COE – an unprecedented act of sanction and disgrace – for his actions and his attitude; that man we have blithely reelected to serve on our Council of Elders.

Shame on him. But even more than that, shame on us.

I suppose we get the leaders we deserve. We shall drink deeply of that cup.

We have just crossed a moral line. I don’t believe we can ever go back to the ethics and principle-driven values we at least tried to have before. Populist politics have taken over – just like in the world; we have espoused a post-modern, emotion-driven worldview. A majority of our balloting elders have shown they will not support the consensus of the GCE if they don’t feel like it. They have shown that they will listen to mud-slinging and vituperation and even lies, mixed with generous helpings of fawning and flattery and they will willingly cooperate.

They have shown that they don’t care about rules or codes if they don’t feel like it, even if we’ve all previously agreed to abide by them. They have besmirched our ministerial code of ethics by reelecting a defiant, self-willed man to the Council.

Either that or they were just duped. And that would scarcely bode any better for the future of this association.

I believe this is the beginning of the end for the United Church of God as we have known it. The fissures caused by the moral earthquake we all just felt will no doubt be papered over for a while and we will be assured that all is well in the best of worlds. Great trees don’t fall in an instant, but the cracking sound is getting louder. Some of you have sown the wind; you will in time reap the whirlwind. God is not mocked. In the meanwhile, may God have mercy on His people; they deserve better.

The Lord gave and the Lord hath taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.

From: Joel Meeker

To: [UCG Elders Forum]

Sent: Thu, 22 May 2008 6:25 am

Subject: EF: Post may be shared

Joel Meeker Milford OH

My post of this morning may be shared in accordance with our EF rules.

Now while I am not part of UCG, it is sad when any COG has problems. Yet, UCG’s form of governance is pretty much guaranteed to cause a variety of issues–including the bind it is now in regarding its move (see also UCG Keeps Aaron Dean on Council and Votes to Rescind Texas Move).

Back in March 2008, the COGwriter site reported that UCG’s Council was attempting to prevent what it termed “bloc voting” (please see United Church of God COE on Bloc Voting, Finances, and Doctrinal Changes) and I believed even back then that this was partially intended to stop the re-election of Aaron Dean to the Council–though if that was part of the reason then it obviously back-fired.

FWIW, perhaps I should add that I knew more about the Aaron Dean censure than The Journal announced (for The Journal announcement, please see United Church of God Council Censures Elder Aaron Dean), I knew about a long time before The Journal announced it in May 2008, and I felt based on information I knew before then (which I still have not posted) that Aaron Dean should NOT have been censured.

What ramifications all of this will have for UCG is still, however, not clear. Of course as the post from the elder’s forum stated:

I suppose we get the leaders we deserve. We shall drink deeply of that cup.

I perhaps will add that I disagree with the poster (apparently Joel Meeker) when he indicated that Aaron Dean “blatantly defied the lawful decision of our president“–the poster either did not have all the facts or chose to view them in a way differently than I have.

UCG’s governance has always been a disappointment to me as it clearly repudiated the teachings of Herbert W. Armstrong and other Philadelphia Era Church of God leaders in this area.

Several articles of possible related interest may include:

Herbert W. Armstrong and Roderick C. Meredith on Church Government 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 is a True Philadelphian? Many claim to be part of the Philadelphia era of the Church, but is claiming enough? This article has biblical and historical evidence about who really are the Philadelphians.
Are the Laodiceans the Modern Sadducees and Pharisees? Discusses similarities of the Sadducees and Pharisees to various COGs in this end-time.
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?
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 easily sort out the different COGs. It really should be a MUST READ for current and former WCG members or any interested in supporting the faithful church. It also explains a lot of what the COGs are all about.

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