Friday, December 19, 2014

UCG - 19 Years of Repeatedly Saying: "...this has been the most spiritually productive series of meetings that I have yet experienced."



The United Church of God recently finished another Council of Elder's meeting.  This has been going on for 19 years now and every single year they say the exact same thing.  "This was the most productive and spiritually energizing meeting ever!"  "We are more unified than ever as a church"  "The ministry is more unified and excited than ever in preaching the kingdom of God"....on and on the platitudes go.  YET, for 19 years the UCG has been a church filled with turmoil and division. Bitterness and resentfulness has always been roiling around in the background when all the positive platitudes are announced.

Robin Webber writes:
The Council of Elders of the United Church of God met in Milford, Ohio, from Dec. 7 to Dec. 11. We started on Sunday with a retreat at a nearby facility where we could collectively appeal to God for His direction. When we approach God on our knees and surrender our good ideas to His perfection, things happen!Our four days of formal meetings followed. It’s always exciting to share a “good report” (Philippians 4:8).I am now in my seventh consecutive year on the Council, and I believe that this has been the most spiritually productive series of meetings that I have yet experienced.
All the elders sat around the table talking bout the spiritual struggles they all endure in their walk as ministers.  They had this to say:
We concluded: We all—every Council and administration figure, pastor and member—need to seek an even deeper and exhaustive desire to center our thoughts, actions and underlying motivations in light of this “lamp unto our feet” (Psalm:119:105Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.) and this decisive instrument designed to discern our thoughts (Hebrews:4:12For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.)—the Bible!
The deeper desire they have to center their thoughts is more law and more Old testament rules and regulations.  Law always trumps grace in the Church of God.  Why should I ever expect otherwise?

Webber then brings his version of Jesus into the mix:
Beyond our personal needs as individual Christians, we also affirmed our God-given responsibility to not only “tend” (John:21:16He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.), but also to “feed the flock” (John:21:15-17[15]So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.[16]He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.[17]He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.). That is, to feed the flock directly and correctly from the living Word of God. It’s the Council’s resolve to go even deeper in establishing the Church’s mooring and understanding on the Word of God. Just like the deer described in Psalms, panting for the water brooks, we too must pant for the Word of God (Psalm:42:1As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.).
It can be guaranteed that when the UCG Council says it will go "deeper" in understanding God's Word it will be about the law.  The things that they feel are required for one to make it to Petra.  Grace and justification will get short shifted to law keeping.
Recent attendee surveys speak to the brethren’s desire to go deeper into God’s Word and have our ministry draw out the rich meanings underneath the surface in God’s Holy Word—be it doctrine, Christian living or prophecy. And to that end, based on multiple comments from the recent surveys, we are moving forward as soon as personnel and resources allow to engaging our membership once again with the Bible Commentary (also called the Bible Reading Program).
Its a shame that the members of the UCG or any Church of God for that matter, does not feel empowered to do their own study of the Scriptures.  They always have to rely upon the theologically bankrupt ministers making personal decisions on what to believe and to do.  99% of the men in the UCG have never studied the Bible without an HWA booklet or UCG article in hand tell them what to believe.  Whey never have dealt with biblical criticism, metaphors, or real church history.  They mock and frown upon anyone that studies in a seminary were truly educated men and women have more research and understanding under their belts than any COG leader will EVER have!

Webber then announced that the UCG is dropping the name of the Good News magazine for a new name.  It has been a bone of contention in many of the COG's because several of the personality cults are using the same name for their own use.  Every single one of them stole it from WCG without asking because they thought it brought warm fuzzy memories of HWA into the nix.  Have a name he chose made them feel their magazine was more legitimate in the church members eyes.  They problem that has arisen over the almost three decades after HWA's death is that no one remembers who he was or CARES!  Not matter how hard they plug the guy's name or hang pictures on their walls, people no longer respond to his name.

I’m also pleased to bring exciting news regarding our major publication The Good News.The Council and the administration have discussed for nearly a two-year period how to: 1) simplify the pathway for people to access our various media outlets, 2) while at the same time magnifying the ongoing impact of what we can share in their spiritual journey. The Council members (11 were present) unanimously decided to approve the administration’s proposal to change the name of The Good News to Beyond Today, which coincides with the title of our television program.

Why? Currently, no one can have full rights to the “Good News” name—which multiple organizations use every day. There are multiple Good News magazines used by a variety of organizations. It’s in the public domain. But we do have the trademark (service mark for non-profits) to Beyond Today. The subtitle is projected to read: “Help for Today, Hope for Tomorrow,” which defines our writing and engages the audience in the wide framework of our calling to be followers of Jesus Christ today, while looking towards the ultimate hope of God’s Kingdom.
Given the massive failure the UCG suffered with its latest media campaign using the Beyond Today program, I wonder what is going through their minds thinking that with a new name change it will increase readership?   No one in the "world" cares to be lectured about paganism, being burdened down with numerous laws and regulations all the while Jesus is ignored  Empty platitudes about a "soon coming kingdom" do nothing to help alleviate pain and suffering in the hear and now.  Blabbering on and on about HWA and Old Testament rules does nothing to promote peace and unconditional love and grace.

Like everything else in the COG these "new"ideas will not bring in new members or increase their funds.  UCG is doomed to rot away into oblivion just like all the other COG's currently are.  For 19 years now they have been saying the same phrase.  For 19 years NOTHING has changed.

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

"When we approach God on our knees and surrender our good ideas to His perfection, things happen!"

Yep. What happens? Prettymuch what would have happened if they had instead spent that time adjusting the scope on their rifle or sharpening the knives in their survival kit: more infighting, cutthroat political intrigue, power plays, backstabbing, stepping on other's throats in order to raise yourself up the corporate ladder by that extra 5 inches. In other words, business as usual.

"We concluded: We all—every Council and administration figure, pastor and member—need to seek an even deeper and exhaustive desire to center our thoughts, actions and underlying motivations in light of this “lamp unto our feet”"

Deeper and more exhaustive than, well, what?

After 80 years of Armstrongism, you would think they would have gotten somewhere. Instead, Armstrongism is predicated upon stagnation, constantly reinventing wheels, and misguided attempts to "really get serious this time." As a result, "depth" is something no one has ever achieved. Armstrongism's idea about "going deeper" is to double-down on strategies that have proven to lead only to failure, and to go around in an old, familiar circles yet one more time.

How "deep" or "exhaustive" has any COG minister or member's attempt to understand the bible or live like Jesus ever been? Armstrongists keep on using words like "deeper" or "more exhaustive," but the fact is, these now-trite sayings are incoherent. Either something is exhausive, or it is not. It is not possible to do a job "more exhausively." All this means is, "We were wrong about saying we did it 'exhaustively' last time (like every other time) and we'll probably be wrong this time too. The reason why they can't even come up to "the world's" standards is because, for all their talk about "mooring" they're completely unmoored from reality. Everything they say is without any objective referent to anchor it. The only thing that's possible is more pie-in-the-sky talk and meaningless platitudes. They've never been serious before and they're not about to get serious now.

The trouble is, when one really does make the personal decision to "get serious," it winds up in that person realizing that he needs to leave Armstrongism behind, because the COGs, in and of themselves are an imposition to "getting serious." Acceptance of the tenets of Armstrongism bind you with shallowness and stagnation. They make the abandoment of seriousness incumbent upon the believer. Instead, they divert any "seriousness" they might have had into useless old testament rituals like "deleavening" their homes. Ritualized "progress" takes the place of any actual "progress." The only thing ministerial types like Robin Webber have ever been "serious" about is coming up with that extra 5 inches.

"The Council members (11 were present) unanimously decided to approve the administration’s proposal to change the name of The Good News to Beyond Today, which coincides with the title of our television program."

Translation: "We unanimously agreed upon a new shade of lipstick for our pig."

Exciting...

Nobody is interested in their program or their literature because they have nothing interesting or valuable to offer. Everyone who stumbles across it realizes it's worthless drivel.

Anonymous said...

Mainstream churches, which do not have the draconian rules to live by, are declining themselves. How does the UCG expect to grow beyond today? The "market" for what they offer is very small. The personality types (obsessive-dependent personality) are so few in number, there is little potential for growth, regardless what they do.

Sweetblood777 said...

The statement '...and surrender our good ideas...' shows clearly that they are 'dictating' to Elohim rather than praying for good ideas from Him.

To me, UCG is very much like the others. They are trying to succeed using the same methods that applied to a different era. HWA was fortunate that he came about during the 30s where there wasn't an Internet, which would have stopped him dead in his tracks.

There are many other reasons why they are failing today.
1. Wrong government
2. Accepting tithes that don't belong to them.
3. Having ranks within the ministry, ignoring the fact that Eph.4:11 is speaking about spiritual gifts.
4. Making the ministry an elite group that lives far above the means of its members.
5. Making its membership depend on the spiritually or lack thereof, of their ministers for spiritual growth.
6. Looking at physical characteristics such as number of people responding, writing, or sending in money, as signs of spiritual growth.
7. Making its members like slaves working on a farm in the heat, while they live like kings working in air conditioned rooms.

Black Ops Mikey said...

Underscores that nothing "Good" comes from United.

Beyond Stupid.

Byker Bob said...

Growth would seem to verify the superlatives, so if they ever get around to experiencing some sort of resurgence in that department, perhaps the professionally crafted public relations orientated words that they use each year will take on a new aura of reality or credibility.

And, of course, a proper facade mandates that they are going to use verbiage befitting the profession. I mean, what would everyone think if Robin had made a statement like, "Aw right! Now we really gonna boogie down, chillen! What a stoned gas when the elders is in the house!"

BB

Anonymous said...

They're going deeper and deeper?

Yup, they've dug themselves into a deep hole in the ground, and efforts at extraction from said hole may prove fatal.

Only a gun-slinging cowboy riding Supercow with a piggish-digging snout can save them now.

Black Ops Mikey said...

It's time to buy new deck chairs for the Titanic.

If only they could afford them....

Retired Prof said...

So, it occurs to me that "the brethren’s desire to go deeper into God’s Word and have our ministry draw out the rich meanings underneath the surface in God’s Holy Word" might lead truly prayerful elders to conclude that the "flock" of "sheep" and "lambs" includes all the humans God created, and that "feed" and "tend" are literal, not metaphoric. The duty of the church would then be to organize food banks, homeless shelters, and storefront medical clinics.

As things stand now, the "poor dumb sheep" are not fed and tended, but only milked and shorn,

old EXPCG hag said...

It all boils down to...they are all just trying to keep from having to go to work at Walmart. THE END.

Anonymous said...

I used to feel sorry for these people, but as of late, I don't.
They must really want to be enslaved as they are. It must meet some psychological need for them. I think that pity has replaced concern. Do they have the ability to know better, yet choose not to? The true church should take care of widows and orphans in their distress and teach the truth. They don't want to or refuse to be a part of what the church should do, then let them have what they have. How much energy should be focused on them? How much of our effort towards them distracts us from what we should be doing? It is interesting to keep up with what is going on, but it shouldn't be our main focus. I teach Scripture in our home on Sunday evening to people who attend Catholic, Baptist, Methodist churches and will be leaving for my fifth trip to Tanzania later this month to teach the Bible. What goes on with the C of G's is little more than a side show. I sat at the feet of RCM and HWA, etc. at AC in Pasadena. It is part of my past. It doesn't distract me from what I think I should be doing today. The "true believers" will continue with their arrogant belief that they alone have "the truth", and will continue to have little or no impact for good on the world. My reservoir of sympathy for some of them is diminishing more and more. What has troubled me the most with these groups is not their beliefs, but their arrogance and hypocrisy.

Anonymous said...

So, Robin Webber was pleased to bring exciting news as follows: "...The Council members (11 were present) unanimously decided to approve the administration’s proposal to change the name of The Good News to Beyond Today..."

I'm pleased too, but for different reasons. For one thing, the Good News brought a lot of bad news and lies when they kept writing about Christ's soon-coming to earth to rule, because Jesus Christ never agreed with the United Ass. on that.

Jesus Christ knew he wasn't going to be coming back that soon to earth and a number of scriptures told us that He would be in Heaven with His Father until all enemies have been subdued.

Sure Satan would be in a pit for a 1,000 years, but then that vile evil thing was to be loosed out of that pit to do what? Deceive the entire world again! That enemy, like death, had yet to be subdued and be put under Christ's feet!

A Good News magazine should be filled with "good news" in it and tell us the truth.

So, good move on the Council's part to change that magazine name to some name that is more truthful: Beyond Today!

Why? That is because it not only is closer to the truth, but the phrase "beyond today" is as vague as can be..........

In fact, I anticipate that magazine will the "same thing" it has always been, but just with a different name....and certainly will be so vague that it will be nothing like "...quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart."

And we know that their magazine, whatever the United Ass. would choose to call it, will continue to quote the words of others of varying outside publications than it will quote verses of the Bible, but time will tell....

John

Anonymous said...

99% of the men in the UCG have never studied the Bible without an HWA booklet or UCG article in hand tell them what to believe.

As someone who attends UCG, this admittedly concerns me more and more.

Men often come to services talking about the great sermon they watched online, or suggesting a series of Bible studies going through a church booklet. Not much about their own searching of Scriptures for truth and answers.

At least the Wednesday night Bible studies from Cincinnati are using the Bible as a base, not UCG literature.

Black Ops Mikey said...

Beyond Today?

Given their record, no one should believe they know what's coming.

I wouldn't trust their next day local weather report for a desert.

Anonymous said...


This reminds me of when these same Tkache people were yapping away back in the WCG about how the Church under them was becoming more spiritually enlightened and loving all the time. Yet the people that I had gotten to know well in the WCG were actually behaving more degenerately all the time.

The only thing that the disUnited Church of Godlessness will ever work at seriously and exhaustively is their smooth talk about how spiritually enlightened and loving they are. The problem is that if you actually go to a UCG congregation and see how rude and crude and evil the people there really are, you will understand why no good will ever come of the UCG.

Back in the WCG under HWA there was a magazine called The Good News, which in Greek would be The Gospel. It is not surprising that the UCG would decide to change the name of its magazine from The Good News to Beyond Today. Even more changes will need to be made to take the UCG back into the world like these same leaders did in the past with the WCG.

Ed said...

I wouldn't recommend the WCG/GCI to anyone but that is the only group of the COG's that even has a slight potential for growth. But even there the fact that it is still a top down org. and has such a low visability limits its growth to slight. All the other COG's will no doubt slowly decline and continue to split including the UCG. The media efforts of the UCG are a small fraction of the old WCG. With out a charismatic leader like HWA there is nothing to draw in new members. Most current COG members will not admit it but the fact is that HWA was the main reason that the old WCG had some mild success bringing in new members. The doctrinal teachings of all the COG are considered weird and totally unorthodox to most people.

Black Ops Mikey said...

How about... the Council of Elders know United is a cult, so divesting themselves of The Good News will apparently distance them from the reputation Armstrongism has been building from the fringes? Of course, in order to really escape the well-deserved cult reputation, they'd need to take down Herbert Armstrong's picture displayed prominently in the Home Office. Another move would be to abandon British Israelism, but I suspect that horse pill is a bit much for them to swallow, even though they absolutely must know by now there's absolutely no excuse for embracing it.

What to do; what to do.

Transformation has to come from the inside out, not from ritualistic cultic practices to attempt to change from the outside in.

After all, the wolves will continue to be wolves even though they wear wool suits.

Black Ops Mikey said...

I will miss Professor Farnsworth.

Anonymous said...

Who are they trying to convince?

If they can just hold out a few more years til retirement ...