UCG’s Carmack Hints of a Split

Ancient Laodicea


John D. Carmack is a UCG supporter with a blog titled Church of God Perspective.  In his latest post, he includes the following:

After Dennis Luker became President, he stated that it was about governance.  At the time, it was presented that they were holding fast to the model developed 15 years ago in Indianapolis.  He stated more than once that it was not about changing doctrine.  He even stated that the Sabbath and holy days were not being changed.  Once, he even stated it was not about a particular family in Latin America.

This all came to a head originally when Clyde Kilough wanted to present a paper about doing a study on governance to the GCE.

  • Then, we were told it was about governance – that of keeping the governing structure we had.
  • Then, a paper about the Sabbath and a particular family was put out, in effect changing doctrine while stating the contrary.
  • Then, more were fired.
  • Then, the regional pastor position was removed, in effect changing government while stating the contrary.

Do the actions match the words?  First, it was not about the Sabbath, then the Sabbath paper.  It was not about a certain family in Latin America, but then the Sabbath controversy seemed to revolve around a certain family in Latin America.  First, it was about governance, ousting someone who wanted a study on governance, firing another who resisted governance, and it was about keeping the current form of government, yet then it was about changing the hierarchy of ministers.  Do the actions match the words?

John Carmack offered his suggestions to UCG’s leadership, then concluded by stating:

…if the membership and elders of UCG do not start getting concrete proof that the Sabbath and holy days are not changing and that the firing and relieving of ministerial positions have come to an end, then a church split is probably inevitable.

In his post last Monday, John Carmack also wrote:

Why the trail of bodies? At very least, the entire thing is starting to seem pretty heavy-handed and ruthless. It appears to be lacking in Christian love.
I’ve been trying to figure out if this is all just plain incompetence or something more sinister. It has the appearance of a consolidation of power, and the lack of any announcement to the membership at this critical time only reinforces that idea…

Incompetence? Grabbing for power? I simply don’t know any more. The firing removal of the office of the regional pastors without any field input and without any announcement certainly makes it look like a consolidation of power. The question is if it even matters any longer which it is.

It ain’t looking good.

If there any elders left in May, they should seriously consider forcing a vote to clean house. It only takes 25% to get an issue on the ballot. It is obvious that this administration has lost touch with its membership and will continue to erode confidence the longer it is in power.

UCG has had governance problems since the beginning, and various splits (though most of the splits have been fairly small).

Why cite John Carmack here?  Because, by and large, he has been a staunch supporter of UCG–and when staunch supporters raise these types of points, this could signal deep problems for an organization.

I do not pretend to try to know what the motives for all the moves UCG’s leaders have made in the current crisis.  However, I consider that rejection of proper church governance is both a lack of humility and a lack of faith issue.

I had problems with how UCG originally established its form of governance in 1995.  Why?  Because doing so meant that its leadership was abandoning a doctrine (governance) that all of the leadership had publicly backed prior to that time.  I also felt, and stated publicly, that the governance issue would affect UCG’s ability and willingness to proclaim the gospel to the world as a witness.

That is why I could not become a member of UCG and part of why I am a member of LCG.

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, I believe that Laodiceans reason around placing the proper emphasis on the public proclamation portion of the work of God.

As far as public proclamation, UCG announced the following “record” last week:

After airing programs for just 15 weeks on WGN, 10,285 telephone and Internet responses have been generated…

And while it is commendable that UCG is lately making more of a public proclamation effort, the Living Church of God received approximately 60,000 responses to its telecast for the same period.  We will see how long UCG will decide it can afford to be on WGN.

Jesus taught:

20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them. (Matthew 7:20)

33 “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit.  (Matthew 12:33-34)

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)

14 “And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write,  ‘These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God:  15 “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot.  16 So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. (Revelation 3:14-16)

I do not believe that the fruits of UCG’s governance have been particularly good, nor have the fruits always been bad.  Others may disagree, but UCG simply has not had the fruits from its telecast that LCG has had.  In UCG’s entire 15 1/2 years it has gotten about the same number of respondents to its telecast as LCG gets every three or four months.

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

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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