UCG News: Some Negative Trends

Ancient Laodicea


UCG just posted the following from its new president, Dennis Luker:

There is much evil going on in the Church right now—rumors, gossip, character assassination, confusion and division. This is not of God: “For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints” (1 Corinthians 14:33).

Who is at fault? Satan, of course, but we can sometimes allow him to use us if we are not careful.  Notice these powerful verses:

“Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace” (James 3:13-18).

These inspired scriptures in James make it very clear that the true source of our problems is “demonic” influence that produces “confusion and every evil thing.”

Last week (see D. Luker: UCG Being Severely Tested), Dennis Luker also posted what seemed to be relatively negative news about UCG.  Dennis Luker seems to, at least, to understand that Satan is influencing that organization. UCG has lost so many ministers and changed the people in top leadership spots so often since April of this year, that I have lost count.  And, as normally seems to happen, those who left, were replaced, or were put out of the organization tend to believe they were right, while those who remain and/or replaced them feel that they were right.

Last night, the latest issue of UCG’s United News arrived.  There were at least two articles that also reflected a negative trend.  Here is one from the back page:

Feast of Pentecost Offering Reported

The preliminary total for the U.S. offering on the Feast of Pentecost decreased 2.6 percent  over that of 2009 to $830,900.24.  This was accompanied by a 1.6 decrease in attendance, a total of 12,426. Once all offerings individually mailed to the home office are processed, this figure should reach $860,000. Gerald Seelig

So, both UCG’s attendance and offerings are down in the USA.  And this does not include what happened after Pentecost to UCG in Latin America, where they seemed to have lost much of their ministry and membership last month (UCG: Not “United” in Latin America).

Although the back page also has a headline that states, “UCG Web Presence Expands“, the front page paints a somewhat more negative picture:

Web Site Visitor Loyalty
April-June, 2009 and 2010

1,271,925 Total
Unique Visitors

Repeat Visitors

877,792 Total
Unique Visitors*

Repeat Visitors

*Due to budget decreases in Web advertising, the number of first-time visitors has decreased.

So, UCG, despite its claims a year or so ago to pump more money into the internet (which appears to be its main way to accomplish its “public proclamation” goals according to certain reports from it), decided to pull back and stop spending as much on the internet.  Perhaps this funding cut was a reason for Larry Salyer’s resignation.  UCG’s internet only attracted 68.69% of unique visitors that it had in the prior comparable period.

Now, while what I posted does indicate a negative trend in UCG, many with UCG remain optimistic. And certainly, UCG does have various programs that are not cold (cf. Revelation 3:15-16).  The main focus of the current issue of United News (by number of pages, by far), though, seems to be its 2010 crop of high school graduates and other similar matters.  However, it does discuss matters such as booklets, international programs, and its new WGN telecast.

My first concern about UCG has long been that its initial leaders rejected the form of church governance that they all had taught prior to the formation of UCG and the fruits of this have not been good.  The Kingdom of God has hierarchical governance, and while UCG leaders recognize this, they have decided a different way is better for them at this time.

My other long-term concern has been that UCG’s focus never really has been on public proclamation of the gospel.  UCG simply does not view the commission in Matthew 24:14 and 28:19-20 the way I think that they should.  This, however, has not seemed to be that big a deal for those who remain and support UCG.  They apparently do not believe that they needed to hold fast to some of the doctrines of the Philadelphia era of the Church of God, nor have the same emphasis on doing the public proclamation portion of the work of God.

I consider that rejection of proper church governance is both a lack of humility and lack of faith issue.

Laodicea is made up of two Greek words that basically mean “people decide”–the implication is that they decide that their own criteria are more important than those in the Bible.  Because of this, they reason around placing the proper emphasis on the public proclamation portion of the work of God.  What about you?  Will you follow the criteria of the Bible or your own?

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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