Friday, January 4, 2013

United Church of God on David Barrett's Book About WCG/COG Implosion

UCG has some interesting comments about David Barrett's new book.  Mike Snyder has made a great observation about the break up of the Worldwide Church of God and how it was horribly mishandled.

Book Review - The Fragmentation of a Sect: Schism in the Worldwide Church of God

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Michael Snyder notes that the book is a sweeping and generally balanced secular review of the history and behavioral record of the Worldwide Church of God and its related organizations, particularly the disastrous and ill-conceived WCG breakup. For many, reading the book will likely be a painful experience, as while the book is not an “expose,” it does chronicle shortcomings of WCG and other offshoot leaders.

Book Information

David V. Barrett

Oxford University Press, USA

Publication Date


Michael Snyder recommends this book.

Hardcover, 302 pages
Centered on a secular analysis of what has to be one of the world's most spectacular failures in change management, sociologist and British journalist David Barrett chronicles in this new work how successors to Herbert W. Armstrong deliberately deployed a non-biblical logic of "the end justifies the means" to essentially reverse the theological course of the Worldwide Church of God (WCG).  As Barrett painfully drills deep, the reader sees that instead of bringing the majority of WCG members to a new understanding of Jesus Christ, the incomprehensible act shattered the lives of multiple thousands, leaving in its turbulent wake freshly minted angry skeptics and agnostics, now hostile to God. Perhaps worst of all, as Barrett eloquently outlines, the wholesale betrayal of trust set in motion predictable human patterns where former leaders and ministers skip from church group to church group, finally claiming the "authoritative mantle" of Herbert Armstrong (HWA) for themselves and setting up a "new" one-man rule over an all-new religious group or splinter (page 209).

How quick we forget that Mike was also part of this break up and was the public face for the changes for quit some time. He, along with David Hulme were active participants in the turbulence that left lives shattered.

Mike continues with:

The book has already been reviewed by a number of prominent religious figures, including James Tabor, a liberal American theologian who once served on the Ambassador College faculty. The fact that Oxford University Press has published the book virtually guarantees that it will receive serious attention as an authoritative work on WCG, UCG and other WCG-related organizations.  However, Barrett recognizes that many American evangelical figures regarded the shattering of the Worldwide Church of God  as a politically positive event, noting: "It is a truism that history is written by the victors, and in the case of books about the changes in Worldwide (Tkach 1997, Feazell 2003, etc.) this is at least partially valid" (page 245). Perhaps the true “ironic dynamic” of this phenomenon appears as the catastrophic failure of post-HWA WCG leaders to achieve the religious goals for the majority of members, all of whom had contributed more than $1 billion in tithe contributions in the post-HWA years, but for most now had little to show for it.
"Most have little to show for it."  How true that comment is! There is nothing left but framed pictures on office walls and trophy cases filled with memento's gathering dust, unseen by all.


Douglas Becker said...

Oh, we have plenty to show for it.

Scars, mostly.

Anonymous said...

As well as hundreds of splinters, there are now hundreds of books written about various stages of WCG history. They have a very limited readership. Even I who was a member feel totally bored just thinking about reading yet another book about the breakup and some persons personal journey to new understanding. I particularly hate the books that go on to expound the new truths about Jesus that the author has had revealed to him. Yes it is usually a him......though I believe a few hers have written books more along the poor victim line.

Sometimes I am a little interested in personal accounts of what happened to some of the people I knew and went to college with, but so often the story is depressing, like they GOT FAT or drink too much.
Perhaps someone here could do a rundown on all the books written about WCG, (not me it would kill me).

Anonymous said...

Anon, perhaps all the "my journey after leaving the WCG" books and websites are just a further manifestation of the utter narcissism and egocentricity so blatantly obvious in COGland. Sort of like those folks on FaceBook who feel they must let all the world know what they had for dinner last night, or the latest adventures of their new pet. I find it rather repulsive that people actually believe the rest of us really care about every insignificant detail of their lives.

Of course, if writing about it helps in their recovery, then perhaps in that regard it serves a useful purpose.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...'s/oiu3pt2.htm#David Hulme