UCG: Not “United” in Latin America

Antigua, Guatemala


The current president of UCG announced the following (he also included a Spanish version, so I have as well):

You’ve probably already read or heard that the Council of Elders recently directly intervened in Latin America and ordered the removal of Leon Walker as the regional coordinator for that area. Mr. Walker has served for many years as a teacher and an administrator, and both out of respect for that prior service and for the hope that he might see the scope of the terrible spiritual errors that were being committed, we deliberately refrained from providing details earlier. Given recent actions, we must now disclose the full scope of this emerging tragedy.

As president, it is my sad duty to inform you that Mr. Walker and most ministers in Latin America are now openly attempting to divide our members in the region, and have to a certain degree attempted to enlist the support of members and ministers in the United States. Together with the Council of Elders, we in this administration are moving swiftly to protect our members and our Church, and we will do so with the full authority and power available to us. To those few who falsely think that the United Church of God is not being directly led in full authority by Jesus Christ, I must warn those who embrace a spirit of rebellion that appropriate action will be taken.

This is a serious situation that deserves and requires your earnest prayers. As I wrote recently to ministers, we are making a considerable amount of documentation about the Latin America situation available to you and our ministers, which discloses the truth of the matter and refutes in detail the false charges and allegations made by others…

Let me speak plainly. I personally have known and worked with Leon Walker for many years, and it grieves me deeply to read his own words that attempt to divide and pull away our ministers and brethren in Latin America. It also personally makes my heart ache to know now that these divisive activities have been going on for months, including efforts to wrongly influence ballots for the Council of Elders.

Brethren, let me be clear: This type of deceived governance led by a well-respected man represents the very reason that hundreds of ministers collectively chose some 15 years ago to embrace and refine the administrative structure that we now have. We have seen the destructive outcomes that “one man rule” in a Church of God organization can wreak, and this current experience in Latin America underscores the reason we changed our model of governance 15 years ago to include safeguards from this happening again. I believe both that Christ led us collectively to embrace the form of Church government that we now have, and that He has blessed and sustained us even amidst the challenges we have experienced over the past decade and a half.


Probablemente ya han leído o escuchado que el Consejo de Ancianos recientemente intervino directamente en Latinoamérica y pidió el retiro de León Walker como coordinador regional de esa área. El Sr. Walker sirvió por muchos años como pastor regional y administrador, y por respeto a su servicio y con la esperanza de que él viera los terribles errores espirituales que estaban ocurriendo, nosotros deliberadamente nos abstuvimos de entregar detalles con anterioridad. Pero, dada las acciones recientes, ahora debemos revelar el espectro completo de esta tragedia.

Como presidente, es mi triste deber el tener que informarles que el Sr. Walker y la mayoría de los ministros en Latinoamérica están abiertamente tratando de dividir a los miembros de la región, y han tratado, hasta cierto punto, de conseguir el apoyo de los miembros y ministros en los Estados Unidos. Junto con el Consejo de Ancianos, los que estamos en la administración estamos tomando acciones para proteger a los miembros y a nuestra Iglesia, y lo vamos a hacer con el poder y la autoridad que se nos ha dado. A los que piensan erróneamente que la Iglesia de Dios Unida no está siendo dirigida completamente bajo la autoridad de Jesucristo, les advierto a quienes estén en espíritu de rebelión que tomaremos acción al respecto..

Esta es una situación muy seria que merece y requiere sus más sinceras oraciones. Como les escribí recientemente a los ministros, estamos haciendo disponible para ustedes y los ministros,  una cantidad considerable de documentación acerca de la situación en América Latina, la cual revela la verdad de los hechos y refuta en detalle las falsas acusaciones y alegaciones hecha por otros…

Quiero hablarles claramente. Yo he conocido y trabajado personalmente con León Walker por muchos años, y me apena profundamente leer de sus propias palabras su intención de dividir y separar a nuestros ministros y hermanos en Latinoamérica. Personalmente, siento que mi corazón sufre al saber que estas acciones de división llevan meses ocurriendo, incluyendo los esfuerzos de influenciar de mala manera los votos del Consejo de Ancianos.

Hermanos, permítanme ser muy claro: este tipo de gobierno engañoso liderado por un hombre muy respetado, es la misma razón por la cual cientos de ministros colectivamente escogieron 15 años atrás, escoger y perfeccionar la estructura administrativa que tenemos ahora. Nosotros hemos visto los resultados destructivos que tiene “el dominio de un solo hombre” en la organización de la Iglesia de Dios, y la situación actual en Latinoamérica enfatiza la razón por la cual 15 años atrás cambiamos el modelo de nuestro gobierno para incluir barreras que impidieran que esto volviera a pasar. Yo creo que Cristo nos guió para que colectivamente adoptáramos esta forma de gobierno que tenemos actualmente, y que él nos ha bendecido e incluso nos ha sostenido durante los desafíos que hemos enfrentado en la última década y media.

Dennis Luker also sent out a DVD sermon that many in UCG saw yesterday where he discussed matters such as goals, gospel, and also disunity within UCG.  FWIW, when Leon Walker headed up some UCG doctrinal committee years ago, it was clear to me that he saw many problems in getting UCG to resolve anything, which I believe is why he resigned that position a few years ago.  FWIW, I take no sides between Leon Walker and Dennis Luker.  I am in the Living Church of God for many reasons.

Dennis Lukers comment about “one-man rule” above is one of the most adamant cold and lukewarm written statements from any UCG president that I have seen (there have been several on gospel proclamation, or lack thereof, in a similar category).  People not part of the COGs should realize that ministers such as Dennis Luker repeatedly backed “one-man rule” until the mid-1990s.  Not he acts like it is the worst option.  He and those who believe that are in scriptural error.

UCG continues to NOT bear the fruits of the Philadelphia era of the COG.  This is partially because UCG  has a different form of governance, different emphasis, and in certain areas, different doctrines, than its leadership once embraced.  Its disunity “fruits” have been apparent to me since it began.

And while I do not cover all the splits in UCG (or any other COG for that matter), this one is one of the more significant ones.  But again, it only shows that what I have been writing about UCG all these years is proven correct on a regular basis.  But like frogs who put up with lukewarm water that is slowly being boiled, many in UCG simply do not realize the danger they are in.

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?
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.
Mexico, Central America, South America, and Brazil in Prophecy [Español: México, America Central, Suramérica, y el Brasil en profecíal] [Português: México, América Central, Ámérica do Sul, e Brasil na profecia] What will happen to those of Latin America? Will they have prosperity? Will they cooperate with Europe? Will they suffer in the future? What rule might the various Caribbean nations/territories play?

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