Saturday, October 27, 2012

COGWA Kicks Out Elder Who Said Church Was Too Lax On Sabbath Requirements


I have been sent this by three different people concerning a COGWA minister who was recently disfellowshipped and  decredentialled from COGWA because he thought the church was too lax on it's Sabbath requirements.  As usually in these letters it's all one big "love" fest.  Everything is  done out of love, love , love.

It's also interesting that in just over a year after it formed the most perfect reincarnation of the True Church it is already having dissension in it's ranks.

How dare those members eat in a restaurant or buy things on Saturdays!



 I will begin by saying that I am the elder that was kicked out of COGWA and the purpose of this post is to just clarify a couple of things. First off I want to reiterate what James has said already, and that is that I have never shared with him any of this information that he has posted on this blog. When I came back from the Feast I was given the opportunity to “change” my mind about my convictions and if I had, I am told I would have been allowed to stay. I did not change my mind. When I spoke with Dave Register I asked him where this left us and he informed me that I would be receiving the letter of decredentialing sometime in the near future and that I was not permitted to attend any longer.

To this point the letter of decredentialling has not arrived and I assume since I am not allowed to fellowship I have therefore been disfellowshipped as well, though I have not yet received a letter stating that yet either.

After my conversation with Dave I decided at that time that I needed to put a letter out to our local congregation stating why they would not be seeing me there as I had not been allowed back (except to attend the Feast) since three weeks before the Feast. Many people were not even aware of what was going on as I had not shared any of these beliefs in my messages nor with the congregation in general. As I said, I sent this letter out to our local congregation and also to four or five other close friends. I also included the offer, if they wanted, that I would send them the paper that I had submitted to Dave Register and the doctrinal committee on my current beliefs.

It was never my intention for this to become what it has become, but I understand how some of these things can take on a life of their own. I want to make it VERY clear that I hold no ill will toward the men that have been mentioned on this site or toward COGWA in general. I did not do this for attention; on the contrary I simply wanted to be able to remain while being able to hold to my personal convictions, but when not allowed to I felt it important to at least get a portion of my side of the story to the local congregation which I consider friends and family.

I apologize for any hurt that this has caused, especially within out local congregation. I also appreciate that Mr. Franks allowed me to have an open line of communication with him through this as he did when COGWA started and I am confident that I could pick up the phone and he would be glad to speak to me about whatever was on my mind. Again, I hold nothing against him personally in all of this, but of course am saddened by their decision in not allowing me to stay in attendance even as a decredentialed elder, but that is their decision. I love all in the congregation that I was forced out of, and still consider them all as my brothers and sisters, just as I consider others in many other groups as my brothers and sisters, and I hope to remain friends with them all.

I look forward to the time when our merciful Father in heaven will bring His children together, and I am confident that that will be accomplished by bringing His children to Him FIRST AND FOREMOST. We of course must be willing to do our part in allowing God to do that, and what I am learning, is that requires an awful lot of humility and I have a long ways to go, as we all do. Thank you all for your prayers and concern but in the big scheme of things this is small potatoes. Again, I hold no ill will and do not desire that anybody get all bent out of shape over this and hold any bitterness against anyone – that never does anybody any good. There are so many in God’s church going through such incredible trials around the globe that this really doesn’t even compare. And compared to what is to come… well this is nothing and I am nobody. Again, I apologize to my brothers and sisters who I may have offended and to those who feel as if I have betrayed them and COGWA, for holding to these beliefs. I meant to cause no pain, but I do not apologize for my convictions or for standing up for them. I do not judge any of you who do not agree with me and I ask for the same in return. God is the ONE TRUE JUDGE and I am so glad that He is the one in charge and will sort this all out in His time. Again, I love you all!!!

=================

“Dear Brothers and Sisters, I am sure there is much going around as to why I have not been attending services since before the Feast and I just wanted to address that quickly here.  First off, I have truly loved and enjoyed the time we have spent getting to know each other over the past couple of years, and I will always cherish the friendships that we have made.

As Mr. Register made everyone aware of several weeks before the Feast I have come to the understanding that the Church has not been keeping the Holy Days according to the Biblical calendar.  I will not say more than that as this letter is not to try to convince you of my beliefs just as I never tried to do so at services in conversation or through my messages.

When I informed Mr. Register, I believe about two months before Trumpets, he immediately took me off of the speaking schedule and asked me to write a paper outlining my beliefs.  I did just that and submitted it to him and he passed it along to Mr. Horchak and Mr. Franks.   After they read the letter I was asked to give it some more consideration and Mr. Franks asked me to let Mr. Register know my final decision on whether I would change my position before Trumpets and I said I would.  A couple weeks before Trumpets I told him that I had not changed my position but that I still wanted to attend services and be a member of COGWA.  I told them that I understood that I would be decredentialed and that I had no problem with that because my personal convictions and conscience is more important than any title or something written on a piece of paper.  I told them that I was fine sitting quietly in the back and not making an issue out of anything.  I figured once everyone knew why I wasn’t speaking any longer then no big deal.


In the announcement of my suspension before the Feast Mr. Register mentioned that we asked to be able to attend the Feast.  What I actually asked was for us to be able to continue to attend services.  He told me not to come until after the Feast and then depending on the health of the congregation he would make a determination as to whether we would be able to attend.  I asked him what he meant by “health of the congregation” and he said that if even a couple people had a problem with us attending we would not be able to.


It has been a couple of weeks since the Feast and we have not been back even once since I was suspended.   Mr. Register called me this past Thursday to inform me that unless I change my belief I will be decredentialed and am not allowed to come back.  I informed him that I have not changed my beliefs and will not go against my conscience.  Because of this and the fact that at least a couple people would feel it divisive to even be there (even though we have not even had an opportunity to come back to see how the congregation responds) I am to be decredentialed and am not allowed to attend.  I guess since I am not allowed to fellowship that means I have been disfellowshipped as well.  I am expecting to get the paper sometime this week or the next.  I have the right to appeal this but truly do not know what the point in that would be except to just make a messy situation (that didn’t need to be) an even messier one. 

When COGWA formed I told Mr. Register and others that I hate politics.  I hate it in the world and I hate it even more in the Church of God and I am truly baffled by how this has been handled.

I love you all and will continue to count you all as my brother and sisters and I hope you still view me and my family as part of your extended spiritual family.  Believe me we would be with you if we could.  You will all continue to be in our prayers and I ask for you all to keep us in your prayers as well.

Thank you all for your friendship, your care and concern.   For those of you who are interested I would be glad to send you the paper that I gave to Mr. Register.  I would not send this to try to convince any of you but so that you can at least have some basic idea of why we believe what we believe.   I hope this letter has not offended any of you but I felt I needed to send something out, to at the very least, address just some of what has taken place and has been going on.   I hope that you will not judge me harshly for holding to my convictions.

Take care.
In Brotherly Love,
Ed Oliver”

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

Too lax on Sabbath observance? or not following the "biblical calendar"?

Sounds to me like he's getting caught up in the "barley thing", looking for the new moon, etc...

If so, why would he want to continue with COGWA anyway since they aren't keeping the Feasts on the correct day?


I was getting my hopes up though when I read the opening paragraph about "lax Sabbath keeping".....heaven forbid the "churches" be denied the Night To Be Much Observed in a restaurant!!

As I have posted in other threads, there seems to be a growing resistance to eating out on the Sabbath amongst the rank and file....surely some ministers must be bothered by it too. Hopefully one day 1 or 2 will go public with it.

Anonymous said...

Sounds to me like James Malm has just gained a new "elder".

Allen C. Dexter said...

Oh, the memories. How observent of the Sabbath we all were back there in the early days. Of course, that cramped the style of HWA and the top echelon, so slowly, things moderated.

Oh, yes, it's Saturday today. Have to get my work clothes on and go clean some carpet, then change and shave and conduct a wedding ceremony in the early evening. How life has changed with clear thinking and departing nonsense.

Anonymous said...


Did James Malm's Shiny Black Hole Blog suck him in, crush his little brain, and spit him out in a different universe?

Maybe the COGWA was not for him. The UCG might have been a better choice for his type. He would be allowed to believe whatever he wanted to in the UCG, as long as it was not the truth. He could even say whatever he wanted to in the UCG, as long as it was not the truth.

These days, even the roughly 25% who supposedly "survived the WCG apostasy" are getting into all sorts of new (and old) ideas.

Byker Bob said...

We can certainly see things, being on the outside, that some of these folks are blinded to.

In Paul's time, it would seem that there was hardly what we could classify as unity. Paul's guiding precepts were that whatsoever is not of faith is sin. People do things in their worship of God that gets the conscience involved. He taught that we should be tolerant and understanding of one anothers matters of conscience, and make accomodation for those still supping on the milk rather than the meat.

This was never practiced under HWA. People who believed that drinking was not something God would have us do were encouraged to take a plunge past the bounds of their consciences. The whole reason the transformation of WCG from cultic to mainstream Christianity largely failed was this force feeding mentality!

If this minister's conscience tells him to be more strict in the keeping of the sabbath, as long as he's not preaching that his own practices are mandatory for everyone, there should be a certain amount of Christian accomodation and tolerance. WCG never really understood conscience, something all of us have to one degree or another. Conscience changes with growth and understanding, and you just can't mandate that. It's one of the aspects which functions as a direct result of one's personal relationship with God.

(BTW, I'm not a legalist. I just believe the Bible teaches us to be understanding and loving towards those who are mired by that type of thinking, and that we should only draw the line when they insist that everyone must subscribe to their legalism to "qualify" for salvation.

BB

Anonymous said...

Good overview BB. The fact is that it doesn't say "can two walk together unless they be agreed," for nothing. It won't work for this man to stay with his church or his church with him.

I religion, people believe there is one way to be, one set of thoughts to think, one practice and way to practice those practices, one God pleasing thing that must be done and one set of rules where all must speak the same thing.

Of course, this is all impossible and it was never achieved in or between the characters of Peter, James, John and Paul in the New Testament either. Divide and separate is what humans do best.

Men like Weinland, Pack, Meredith and Flurry don't work FOR others. Others work for them. They cause division by their nature and perspectives. They have to set the standards and they get to tell everyone what is the right and what is the wrong way to be.

It does not work of course and their beliefs are far different from what may or may not be actually true as we know.

Religion is opinion. It multiplies by division and adds to one while subracting from others.

Where two or three are gathered together in Jesus name, one has to be in charge, one has to listen and one has to bring the watermelon to the picnic...

M.T.Hall

Anonymous said...

BB, well said on the matter of conscience. It seems that Rickhard Pine in Helli and the gang are into 'don't ask/don't tell' treating those who wisk to keep the same Sabbath they themselves observe with disdain. The same disdain many who contribute to and comment on this blog have for them.

Funny the way things work here with these groups. The powers that be ask him to admit to his beliefs submitted by paper then give him a 'chance' to change his mind. The other side of the coin is the non-going out to eat type are continually preaching that as their schtick, constantly badgering others, labeling it as sinful and with an almost in your face glee.

A lot of these go hand in hand, the calendar and barely, new moon, etc. Fringe church fringers. How bizarre that people who themselves get forced out of UCG and other places force people out for many of the same arguments. Religious hacks one and all.

Anonymous said...

"I look forward to the time when our merciful Father in heaven will bring His children together. . . ."

And yet, like junior high school students, those children keep on forming nasty little cliques. The merciful (and don't forget, almighty) Father proves powerless to unite them.

Apparently it doesn't do a bit of good either to pray to God for unity or to plead with the brethren for tolerance.

Noah Vail

Anonymous said...

Of course, "the church" has the ultimate understanding on all of "what is the right and what is the wrong way to be." The leader's opinion is always the right opinion. That's why everyone must think and speak exactly the same thing. The fact that each church teaches something different is irrelevant because each church is 200% correct within the confines of its own private little universe. (To hop between churches is to hop between universes. I'm pretty sure there's some law of physics that prevents this.)

"The merciful (and don't forget, almighty) [and don't forget nonexistant] Father proves powerless to unite them."

Assistant Deacon said...

So a COG elder has his own interpretation and church leaders showed him the door and he still regards the members as his brothers and sisters and he bears everyone no ill will...

...and the sun came up today, and the sky was blue, and the clouds rolled by, and the sun will go down, and my dog knows more about getting along with others than these people do.

Douglas Becker said...

Keeping ACoGs together is like herding cats.

Steve Kisack said...

Come on! Who's this "innocent" guy trying to fool? He WANTS his "brothers and sisters" to know what's going on. That's why he wrote all of this. Why does he want to add fuel to the fire? Well, just like all the rest of the ministurds, Franks, Register, etc, he wants a following. A following means control of their minds(all speaking the same thing, my ass!) and control of their "tithes". At least he didn't end with, "In Christ's Name"...yet.

B.B. said, "Paul taught that we should be tolerant and understanding of one anothers matters of conscience, and make accomodation for those still supping on the milk rather than the meat."

MY COMMENT: And you're comparing this to one of the Armstrong cults? What "meat"?

Byker Bob said...

My latest experiences with Christianity have taught me that no two Christians think alike. It's the transformed heart that makes a Christian, and how that effects the personal issues and differences with others. God would probably be totally bored if we all expressed our love and worship in exactly the same way.

People speak of the unity we all supposedly once enjoyed in old school WCG, but it was all a myth, and any unity we thought we had was certainly not rooted in love. It was due to HWA's legendary temper, and the threat of disfellowshipment and consignment to the Lake of Fire. Anyone whose consciences led them to dissent was compared to Korah or in extreme cases was said to be demon possessed. It's the one area in which we totally differed with the Jews, as uniqueness and dissent are actually encouraged in Temple.

One of the most dastardly errors in Armstrongism is failure to teach that God's love for all of us is unconditional. That is God's very character. Yes, there are penalties for wrong choices, and often chastisement, but these are part of a continuing gradual sanctification process, and God does not forsake us even while we are being chastised.

BB

Anonymous said...

And this is why the "churches of God" are Armstrongist cults. If you say no when the admin says yes or you say yes when the admin says no then they have the power to excommunicate you. Why can't they allow free thought in their groups? Because it's all about control. Who controls the power, who controls the money, who controls the people. And politics is what you get as a result. They all seem to put out a united front by their booklets, tv, website, etc. but that's for public consumption! Cause in fact they are totally divided behind the scenes mired in opinions and speculations. It's hypocrisy on a grand scale since they lure new members by their "free" (in word only) material giving the impression they're closer to the Bible than other churches, but in actual fact they're far away from the real God and it's all just lip service and HWA or COG worship.

Anonymous said...

"I look forward to the time when our merciful Father in heaven will bring His children together. . . ."

LOL!!!
Will that be around the time that all the different Jesuses and YHVHs and Holy Spirits are brought together?

Mark Wilson said...

I am sure there is much more to the story, so we should reserve judgment.

COGWA teaches one should follow their own conscience including eating out on the sabbath.

Obvious, to be an elder one should believe at least a certain minimum. I don't know what COGWA considers this to be.

However, we can't know the whole story from the letter.

Anonymous said...

Who is James Malm?! He claims to have attended wcg vancouver and forced out over extremist views regarding Sabbath observance in the 1980's which is humorous as those were the "Back on Track" years under HWA. Hard pressed to find anyone who knew of him. One who knew his wife recalls the overbearing hardship he created on his wife and children causing her to flee and seek refuge with her parents. Did they reconcile? What is he not revealing? Why no photograph or address? Is he still unemployed and receiving govt assistance? Reveal yourself oh wizard of oz.

Anonymous said...

Isn't it sad the majority of these men who used to throw around "you are self righteous like Job" comments, have yet, to learn the real reason Jesus Christ (as THE WORD) allowed Job to be buffeted by Satan the devil himself, while doing what we read in Job 36:17, and Job 38:2, 15, since the majority of men have never learned the difference between their wrestling with the "arm of God" (Job 40:9-14 / Jesus Christ) and some 'high arm' already broken by Jesus Christ Himself personally, simply because men like Adam have always refused to learn from what the true apostles like Peter, James, John and Paul all taught concerning what PURE RELIGION is in God's eyes? (For instance, look at what we read in James 1:27, and ask yourself when was the last time you ever heard that read in your "bundles"?

Anonymous said...

Isn't it sad the majority of these men who used to throw around "you are self righteous like Job" comments, have yet, to learn the real reason Jesus Christ (as THE WORD) allowed Job to be buffeted by Satan the devil himself, while doing what we read in Job 36:17, and Job 38:2, 15, since the majority of men have never learned the difference between their wrestling with the "arm of God" (Job 40:9-14 / Jesus Christ) and some 'high arm' already broken by Jesus Christ Himself personally, simply because men like Adam have always refused to learn from what the true apostles like Peter, James, John and Paul all taught concerning what PURE RELIGION is in God's eyes? (For instance, look at what we read in James 1:27, and ask yourself when was the last time you ever heard that read in your "bundles"?