Saturday, December 18, 2010

United Church of God - Divided

We haven't said anything on the disintegration of the United Divided Church of God - A (formerly) International Association. Some people might wonder why? Don't we care?
Sure we do! It's because we care that we're not saying anything about it.

There are already lots of places to get information on this. Felix is reporting on it. J is reporting on it. In fact, J has an informal and confidential survey for UCG members if you're interested. No2HWA is reporting on it. And others!
I also keep an eyeball on the FaceBook groups, like "United Church of God - Resolving Issues", and especially websites like the UCG Current Crisis.

Here is an interesting Google map which shows the locations of the loyal and breakaway ministers in this UCG Crisis. It's not completely comprehensive, but it's still pretty good as a reference.

I would ask everyone to pray for all of the people involved in this mess (I know a few).

Personally, I would like the people involved to finally realize that this is how it goes. The leadership of the UCG are technically causing this crisis, but they aren't the root of the problem. If they were the root of the problem, as if changing the leadership will make these problems go away, then explain how this very same thing has happened in one form or the other in nearly every COG splinter group. All of them exist because of a split, and most of them have splits of their own. UCG started as a loose association of splinter groups. And this is not UCG's first split.
Now think of the WCG, Eternal, Global/Living, Philadelphia, CGI, Intercontinental, Fellowship, etc. etc. etc. There are literally hundreds of splinter groups out there. Don't you know that the WCG started when HWA split from the COG7? Didn't you know the COG7 started when Gilbert Cranmer split from the SDA church? Don't you know that the SDA church started when William Miller's Adventist group split up after his prophecies failed in 1843-44? Read the COG Timeline on The Journal. There is an unbroken line of breakups going back 166 years.
Now think of Rod Merideth, Gerald Flurry, Dave Pack, Ron Weinland, Wade Cox, John Ritenbaugh, Harold Smith, etc, etc, etc,. Can this be just a cataclysmic stroke of bad luck in choosing shoddy leadership? That every splinter group's leadership has done this in one way or the other? Can't be.

Something else is the cause of this - something that is shared between each of these groups. The root of the problem is in the very doctrines themselves.

Here at ABD, and we aren't the only ones, we have tried to put the very doctrines themselves to the test. We have weighed them in the balance and found them wanting.
We put what we've found here for you, for free, IF you are inclined to test and prove. I really hope you do! We don't expect everyone to just agree with us, just ask those tough questions and prayerfully consider those tough answers. But we can promise you this much -- if you just keep going on and on, doing what you've always done, well, you'll go on and on getting what you've always gotten.

Beloved children of God who are in the crumbling UCG, may God bless you and speed you into the New Covenant in the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.


dilbertok said...

No one seems to invoke the premise, yea reality, in scripture that the adversary knows he has but a little time and is quite busy trying to scatter and weaken the body of Christ. The author mentions splits gong back 150+ years. We need to remember that, to him (the adversary), even 150+ years ago was 'knowing there is a little time'. A scattered body we certainly are. But the gates of hell will never prevail. This is sure.

xHWA said...

So, dilbertok, are you suggesting that Satan has control of the leadership of these groups?

dilberok said...

Im suggesting that scattering is not an unusual terminology to use in the times we live it with regard to the Church of God. Scripture is clear on the feelings, if you will, Satan has for the Body of Christ. Scripture is clear on his (Satans) knowing he has but a short time. If there is some leadership, somewhere, in the Churches of God where men are attempting to detract from the Law of God...then, yes, perhaps the adversary is involved in that process.

xHWA said...

I was also suggesting that scattering is not an unusual thing in the CoGs. Glad we're agreed on that.

Would you say splits are a normal, healthy part of any church?

What I am curious about is the way you think the scatterings come about. I believe you are saying Satan is angry, knowing that he has a short time - a reference to REV. 12: 12, and that he is causing the splits. Is that right? (BTW, I've heard people say several times that these splits are caused by God.)

If so, let me ask a few questions of you, then.

Do you believe that, prophetically, we are at the point that REV. 12: 7-12 is fulfilled, and the splinters are now awaiting being taken to the "Place of Safety"?

You seem to also say that Satan is not involved in the splits, unless somewhere there is a person in the splinters who is trying to detract from the law. How can the splits be caused by Satan's anger, yet he is not involved until the law is detracted from?

For example, I do not see the law being at issue in very many of the previous splits. When the Church of God the Eternal split back in the 1970's, that was over the law. The other splits were usually the cause of false prophecy, the leadership running amok, or some such thing. One way or another, the splits were all internal conflicts.

Also, how did Satan's anger factor in over the past 150 years, as you suggest, without Satan being involved? But if he was involved, then how was he involved?

I suppose what arises in my mind is that claiming "Satan is angry" needs to be fleshed out. It's not a detailed enough explanation. Simply saying "Satan is angry" doesn't explain things. We need to know how did Satan's anger influence the splits?

Whatever happened, it was internal. Satan had to be working inside jobs. At least in the case of the UCG, we can see that this is a fight between the leadership (as it was when Ron Weinland left). So the leadership is the cause. Then, is Satan in control of the leadership? And by extension was Satan in control of the leadership for the past 150 years? And can a group where Satan controls the leadership be called a church of God?

Heidi Korthuis said...

I agree whole heartedly the root of the problem is the doctrine of UCG and any group continuing HWA teachings. Many will continue to pray that these splinter groups will come to see the new covenant and stop the continued preaching of fallacies, skewed history, and fear mongering.
The early church was called "the way" not Church of God founded by HWA in the 1930's. Take it a step further with an understanding of the New Covenant and the Church is a spiritual body of believers not a certain denomination.

Henrik V Blunck said...

There are two elements that are at the core of the problems of all these splits.

1. Ministers were ordained based upon FRIENDSHIPS with people in higher authority, and NOT on qualifications as outlined in 1. Timothy.

2. When ministers were challenged on the "prove all things" aspect of things, they excommunicated people instead of carefully considering what was being asked about.

Those two elements created sheep that would blindly follow anything. Truly a cultic and sectarian mindset. Just by the book...

Byker Bob said...

I have come to a different understanding from the one which dilbertok has expressed, and will share it for everyone's consideration.

If you listen to Christian radio, and Christian television, you become aware that there is a great push going on right now to preach the end-time gospel. This gospel is being preached very powerfully via satellite networks, to areas of the world which have been carefully identified as never having heard the message of Jesus Christ. At great peril, Bibles are being smuggled into communist countries, leadership classes are being taught in some of the third world countries which are ruled by cruel and sadistic warlords, and disciples are being made around the world. Some on the scene report that miracles and events similar to what happened in the early apostolic era are now happening in these third world countries almost on a daily basis. Most of the folks in the ACOG splinters are completely unaware of this effort, because their attention has been diverted elsewhere.

I believe that God loved, and still loves the sincere members of the Armstrong family of churches, wanted these people involved in the things He is doing right now, and attempted to correct the doctrinal errors and misunderstandings which He knew would prevent them from participating in the work He was about to do. Unfortunately, great numbers of people rejected the correction, or experienced integrity failure in terms of implimenting the correction. Not one of the splinters, or the original group has been blessed in their efforts in the intervening time since the correction! None appear to have the witness of God behind them, and it is so painfully obvious that there is a critical lack of God's Spirit amongst the leadership of any of these groups!

This is not something that Satan has done, these people chose to do this thing to themselves, through their own agendas and ego! I'm sorry folks, but Satan didn't even have to so much as lift a finger in this series of events.

One painful lesson which I've learned from my years in the WCG was that in building and maintaining a personal relationship with God, one should never single source one's spiritual guidance from another man, or one corporate church group.
Draw on many sources, and prayerfully allow God to do the guiding! Having said that, one of the resources who has occasionally provided some real depth and insights for me is Dr. Charles Stanley. He wrote a book on "Living the Wonderful Spirit-filled Life", and it contains some really great understanding that these ACOG groups desperately need right now!

An authoritarian group, with government "from the top down" works counter to the Spirit of God.
God works in a multi-faceted way, but the primary thing He does is to work from the basic unit on up, transforming one heart at a time.
Once His building blocks are in order, He can work through them collectively. God's power, not human authority or power, is the key!


xHWA said...

Looks like you got the dreaded Url too large error trying to post your comment, BB. As you can see, commenting still works even though you get that error. Sorry about that trouble. I hope is working on that.

"one should never single source one's spiritual guidance from another man, or one corporate church group.
Draw on many sources, and prayerfully allow God to do the guiding!" -BB

People shouldn't even use As Bereans Did as their only source of info.
PROVE IT FOR YOURSELF!! You cannot ride someone else's coat tails into the Kingdom.

xHWA said...

The Our Purpose page describes a loose association of local congregations. It says they've learned so much from this split with UCG.
Well, it seems to me like they're right back to where the Church of God (Seventh Day) was in the 1800's.

Look at the full name of the COG7: "General Conference of the Church of God (Seventh Day)". They are a loose association of local congregations.

Will this new form of "association" that the COG America has chosen stop splits? No! The COG7 had many, many splits.

It's the doctrines!

Byker Bob said...

Yes, it is the doctrines, xHWA! They have been tried as many times and in as many settings as communism, with the same result. They always corrupt the leaders, and they always fail.

Chief amongst the bad doctrines would be the extra-Biblical British Israelism. God has never based the manifestations of his character towards humans on skin pigmentation or other physical characteristics. When He punished or debased, He did it based on idolatry, and Satanic practices of worship.

Manasseh and Ephraim themselves were interracial in their ethnic makeup! Their mother was Joseph's Egyptian wife.

When Ezra broke up the interracial marriages of the returning exiles it was due to the foreign wives' pagan beliefs, not their physical racial characteristics. Knowing the history of Israel, Ezra was trying to prevent the necessity of another foray into paganism, and another captivity!

This horrid, elitist, racist, and totally extra-Biblical theory caused much pain and difficulty amongst people of color in the ACOGs, and one can only imagine what damage it would have done around the world if Armstrongism believed in large scale missionary efforts in third world nations.

This is only my own personal opinion, but I believe that God did not want to be misrepresented as being racist to any of His children, which is why He has muted the tainted Armstrong gospel, and has spewed the splinters from His mouth! False teachers always cause splits, schisms, and hurt as a natural by-product of their activity.

I would love to see just one of the splinters repent of the heresy of British Israelism, just to know whether God would begin to bless such a group. I think that if He intended for a racist gospel to go out, he'd be working through some of the militias who teach about ZOG and the mud people!


xHWA said...

British Israelism is a virulent, deadly cancer. I completely agree with you.
I wonder what you think about this bit of speculation, BB...

I agree with you that God is not racial in any way. But I wonder if God chose Israel because He knows that we are racial. Please allow me to explain.

God's intent all along was the New Covenant spreading throughout the earth, to all its peoples. But we are all so conscious of this or that difference between ourselves. So what was the most fair, most humbling way for God to bring the Savior into the world? He chose a powerless, obscure, minuscule people in some out of the way area. It had nothing to do with Israel's superiority or race. In fact, quite the opposite.

Could you imagine if Jesus was born a wealthy and powerful man in modern America? The world would cry "Imperialism!" or "Colonialism!" or whatever. But He was born a helpless babe in a manger in the desert. That is God's way. And Israel was chosen because they matched that way, not because God wanted to create and bless a super-race.

That's my thoughts on it.

Dillon said...

Jesus said in Mat 16:18 that the gates of hell shall not prevail against His Church. If there are splits and disagreements then the gates of hell did prevail against His Church, which means Mat 16:18 is in error according to HWA. If the Lord does not build the house, they labour in vain who build it.

Dillon said...

@dilbertok "Scattering" is the gates of hell prevailing. To say otherwise indicates some kinds of blindness. Jesus said,"He who is against scatters."

Anonymous said...

EDITED COPY WITH SPELLING CORRECTED. Sorry, I published too early.

I stumbled on this website ... having been a member of three CoG groups. I found Byker Bob's comments excellent, with regard to the inspiration found in other Christian groups (particularly the faith of the persecuted church). It all comes down the biblical definition of church - the ekklesia - "the whole body of believers scattered throughout the earth". This is a spiritual body - not a human organisation. But a word of warning to BB and others, discernment in this matter is crucial.

A great deal of what is being called Christianity is not - it is part of the postmodern emergent church movement, which began in the 1980s (and is said to have affected some 90 per cent of Western churches). And it is preaching a false gospel and another Jesus. Brian McLaren believes that the Cross "says that in the end God gets his way through coercion and violence and intimidation and domination just like every other kingdom does. So the Cross is not the centre the, the Cross is almost a distraction and false advertising for God".

CEO of the emergent church movement Pastor Rick Warren is working to bring about a global church regardless of the fact that most don't have to believe in Jesus. This is an ecumenical and interfaith movement that has embraced many Eastern forms of Spirituality, and New Age teachings. This is what GCI did with their theistic evolutionary panentheistic Incarnational Trinitarian Theology. (Some of their teachings line up directly with prominent occultists, such as Helena Blavatsky and Alice Bailey.)

This subject is too big to go into here. Check out the YouTube video Church of Tares: Purpose Driven, Seeker Sensitive video ( There are many other discernment ministries, which do not necessarily agree with each other doctrinally but they can see how the emergent church's subjective “gospel" and teachings have replaced the objective truth of the Bible. See also Lighthouse Trails Research, Fighting for the Faith, The Messed Up Church, Berean Research, Holy Bible Prophecy, Warren Smith's books and Caryl Matrisciana's Wide is the Gate DVD, which is EXCELLENT. Not all out there in the Christian community is what it seems! As for Dr Andy Stanley, as recommended by Byker Bob, he is an emergent church Christian (check out Lighthouse Trials). This may well have happened AFTER BB's recommendation, more than eight years ago. According to Dr Stanley, "we need to get the spotlight off the Bible".

It is tragic to know that so many members in the WCG groups can't extricate themselves from these cults or its HWA doctrines, but unless we want to be tarred with the same brush - we must communicate about this matter in the spirit of love (not condemnation). There are some truly wonderful people in these groups. True believers who are not happy but are fearful of moving on. They are caught in a cultic web and don't know how to break free. I think most members are deceived into a wrong understanding of the word “church”, this includes sincere ministries. So let us have compassion on them, not anger. We, too, were members once.

Yes, the problem IS the WCG doctrines, and members must stop making the former WCG their biblical standard to measure other churches against to see "how much of the truth they have". We must check everything against Scripture!

Thank you for explaining the many split-off groups, historically, I was unaware of that.

J. E. L.