Saturday, September 24, 2016

Don Ward Demands UCG Members Submit to Ministry. Is UCG Headed For More Trouble?

When the elite of the present day UCG conspired and worked behind the scenes to form their new church, while still employed by WCG, they thought they were taking the best and the brightest of the ministry with them.  Following the government and church organization of the WCG was of little importance to them. They would finally have the most unified splinter group that the church had ever seen and would do amazing things.  Now 20 years later, UCG is a mess.  A major split decimated the ministry and membership.  Families, marriages and friendships were ripped apart as members aligned themselves with the camp they felt was most righteous. Various smaller groups have also broken off since then aand members slowly bleed away today out of boredom and lack of inspiration.

UCG has never fully recovered from this relationship shattering event, no matter how much they claim they are united today. Factions still exist, both in the membership and the ministry, that threaten to split the church again.

Expensive media campaigns along with ROKU and AppleTV broadcasts have not drawn in the potential members they were seeking.  Infighting and arguing still go on as two camps are divided on changing doctrines and practices.  No matter how many times they stand up and deny changes are in the pipeline, people know differently.

Don Ward, another one of God's most important men to have ever graced the COG, preached a sermon recently on the expectation that the UCG members MUST obey the ministry whenever they speak.  As conduits of godly government, everything they say and do comes directly from their god and she does not take too kindly to members not following her directions.

You can listen to Ward's sermon here: Church Government and Organization: Is there authority in the church and is it organized?

The COG has always been about authority and power in its ranks.  Jesus, the man that makes them really uncomfortable, was all about breaking the chains of oppression from government, rules and regulations.  Grace, mercy, and justice were the game changers that thwart the legalists in the church in the time of Jesus just as it does today.  That's why all the lies of Malm, Thiel, Pack, and others carry no weight today.  People are sick of the legalistic bullshit that keeps getting dumped upon them.


Connie Schmidt said...

Christianity is relational, NOT a business or organizational hierarchy model.

Miguel de la Rodente said...

I'm sorry, but someone, as a pure act of civil disobedience, and in a blow for free will and the pursuit of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, ought to walk to the front of the room, drop trou, and take a hot steaming crap, right in front of Don Ward as he gives the next totalitarian missive.

The fact is nobody needs an extra level of voluntarily accepted government, especially not an oppressive one. The church should offer spiritual guidance and mature support for the members. It is absolutely laughable that these charlatans would claim to have an extra portion of the Holy Spirit, and then demonstrate that they do not understand the scriptural role of the Holy Spirit in their members' lives. They usurp and counter that role at every turn. Armstrongism is not developing or preparing anybody for anything. It is simply mind control, producing fearful robots who believe that following the ministers is qualifying them for the kingdom.

Anonymous said...

Hmm. This is exactly the type of harsh, authoritarian sermon that was preached over and over again in UCG during 2010. John Elliott even went so far as to press a truly catholic-esque claim that the ministry of UCG, and one can only assume not the ministry of any other WCG cultlet, were THE people on earth today upon whom the mantle of the Levitical priesthood had been bestowed by god. Historically untenable and theologically incoherent to say the least. But sometimes, when fear overtakes them, ministers (or priests—whatever they think they are), will say truly bizarre things. Either they are ministers, or else they are priests. They cannot be both, but in WCG under Herbert Armstrong, the difference between the two was often blurred intentionally. They wanted to be able to claim to be mere helpers when it so suited them, but they also wanted to claim all the powers of an intercessor when they felt it was necessary to draw the daggers. Kind of like how Herbert also claimed to be just a lowly "apostle" when it suited him, but also usurped the role of a prophet to instill the fear that raked in the big bucks.

Not unpredictably, all traces of those harsh and authoritarian sermons were quickly deleted after the COGWA split was over. They were specific messages intended to keep as many of the sheeple loyally tithing to them as possible during a very specific period of time. To understand them, you would have to know exactly who was being referred to in the coded language, and exactly who the intended targets were that supposed to be being given a warning. To interpret them outside of the context of that time period, just as though it were a sermon intended for general consumption, they are going to sound kind of harsh and unreasonably authoritarian. But that raised the question, if they were preached as "truth" during a time of crisis, if they really were truth, shouldn't they be just as true at any time? The fact that reasonable people would reject them during times of non-crisis surely shows they aren't true during a time of crisis either.

Anyway, after the split, it was immediately onto, "We are more united and happy than ever (now that we've managed to kick out all those 'rebels')." One could only wonder if this is how they expect their heavenly bliss will be achieved in their "soon-coming-kingdom-of-god," by voting people off their island who they don't like? Reading between the lines, that's certainly one way to interpret the bible.

To see this kind of sermon being preached again raises the question why. Who is Don Ward talking about in coded language? Who are the intented targets to whom he's giving a warning? This is not the sort of sermon intended to be for general consumption during a time of non-crisis. This is the kind of sermon that gets preached when the daggers are drawn. So, the question is, what's the crisis now? Is another split on the horizon? Are some of those "ministers" who were so united in kicking out those dirty COGWA "rebels" now become "rebels" themselves? It's been nearly seven years, so it's getting to be about that time. For a church that bills itself as "united," it sure hasn't built any brand equity behind that description.

Byker Bob said...

Wouldn't it just be awesome if one of the ACOGs had the foresight that Liberty University has? L.U. sponsors their student, William Byron, in the NASCAR truck series, and he is doing quite well this season.

On second thought, nah! The ACOGs would just contaminate NASCAR. Best they should not attempt to ride the coat tails of the Christians they call falsely so-called.


NO2HWA said...

Dang it BB! Now you will set Bitter Bob of into a tirade that NASCAR is wrong. People might have an accident and hurt themselves. God hates that! God's true church would never allow its baptized members to drive wreckelessly.

Hoss said...

Ron Dart was reading through Matthew, got to 23:11 But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. and said that was the only verse he knew about church government.

At the time, he and Allie were in charge of CEM, so government wasn't an issue. At least he didn't take a cheap shot at the big COGs with the next verse, And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased...

Anonymous said...

Thanks for that info Hoss!

Michael said...

You gotta admit the dynamics in all of this are fascinating.

UCG needs - above all, bar none - member tithes/donations to even exist.
Any drop in income is their greatest worry, far beyond any doctrinal issue.

But their message to those members, is that they've been appointed by a higher power to have authority over those providing the very funds the church govt. requires just to exist in the first place.

And those that collectively possess literally the power of life-and-death over the administration, imbue it with life, and in turn the ministry teaches that it is they who are in control over the members, whose duty it is to obey.

All the while, the leaders must live in a constant private fear that the members will stop providing that life-giving financial support.

The members whom they are lording over...

Anonymous said...

I agree wholeheartedly with your comments. It is the truth. It is what I've experienced within united. It's become a bullying ground for vying political groups. I stay away from it the is nothing united about united they are destroying themselves.

Anonymous said...

Ron Dart asleep but not forgotten. Thanks for sharing this.

EX-UCG said...

I listened to this long, boring "sermon" from someone who was part of the heresy of the WCG.

There were a few glaring errors:

1. He said that God speaks through men. He didn't mention that God speaks directly
through The Bible.

2. We are called to do an "Elijah-like" work. No scripture quoted.

3. He thinks that most of us lay members aren't spiritually discerning enough. If
we listen to messages on the Net (we can't detect truth from error).

Sweetblood777 said...

The cogs have done exactly the opposite of what Yahshua stated concerning the behavior of Gentiles that reign over their people.

The cogs look upon Eph.4:11-13 as offices and not as gifts as stated. They then take these words as meaning that they have the power to dictate to those they consider to be below them.

The cogs are set up for failure. They are based on having a ruling elite that does not recognize the Holy Spirit in others. They place themselves between Christ and the flock, just as pagan priests of Rome have done.

Finally, one's growth or lack thereof, is pretty much determined by the spiritually of the organizations leaders.

Miguel de la Rodente said...

Exactly, Sweetblood, especially your final paragraph.

I'm about to start some jam sessions with a young aspiring guitarist who works for one of my customers. He pretty much summed up his expectations on Friday, when he told me what a former jam partner had said to him: "Play what you know, and I'll figure out something to lay down that compliments it, and we'll go from there."

I thought to myself, isn't that just like life? Isn't that what I've been doing with my customers for decades? The problem with Armstrongism is that the incestuous spiritual gene pool didn't allow for the proverbial over-running cup, the super abundance of knowledge or skills which all of the great mentors have, and from which they share. All we ever got was fear-based advertising hype, circular reasoning, and max enforcement of the outgrowths of those.

Anonymous said...


As a musician do you feel you did not use your talents or felt them hampered by Armstrongism or COGS. I apologize for the response but I neglected my talents due to the world ending or waiting for it to end. As a sixteen year old at the time it was a depressing time and did not stop there. Not sure if your story is the same or others but would be interesting to learn. I still don't get the Feast thing with multiple groups even in same areas. Stupid. I hears a sermon on Reconciliation. Don't get it. When I questioned about Mr. Armstrong and called him "Herbie" it did not go over well and that COG held him in high regard and the contact "checked the data base" and noticed I was in a congregation. So...why would you do that??

Thank you for the ear

The Wanderer

Anonymous said...

“UCG Headed For More Trouble?”

The UCG IS trouble!

The falsely so-called “United” Church is simply full of too many bad people behaving too badly. The idea that welcoming in all sorts of unrepentant, unconverted, unbelieving weirdos and perverts for other people to put up with in order to “show love to them” has not worked out well for the UCG. Expelling the innocent victims of the selfish and malicious weirdos and perverts in the UCG was not a good idea either. The UCG leaders have not yet figured out that sinning and perverting justice and being godless are not the way to grow a COG. Telling outright lies about how all is peace and harmony and unity and set for great growth in the UCG now that better people have left or been expelled in the last major split will not work out well either.

Miguel de la Rodente said...

Yes, Wanderer, my interests and talents were severely hampered by my CoG experience, mostly because I like to play rock and blues, but also because pursuing music in the "end times" was considered frivolous. It was a paradox, because people who had already developed their musical skills were often pressed into service at the various functions, but spending time and resources newly developing skills was seen as being not taking one's calling seriously, not using one's time to best advantage. It's yet another reason, now looking back on end times that are over forty years overdue and counting, why Armstrongism was such a waste. It's not only the educations that got blown off, and the careers undeveloped. Many of our talents and passions languished as well. Those things are often what enriches life.

Anonymous said...

The problem with Dr. Ward's sermon is, - are we to obey and follow all the ministers assigned to our Church? 80% of the ministers I've had have left the "truth".

Most of the members who left to COGWA did so because they followed a man. Any member of any church needs to have spiritual discernment. As limited as that might be, you should always question those in authority while you seek peace and unity. It can be a politically stressful and dangerous effort.

Anonymous said...

"Most of the members who left to COGWA did so because they followed a man."

I'm not sure that's true, unless the man you're talking about is HWA.

I left UCG in December of 2010, but it wasn't because I was following Clyde Kilough, Jim Franks, or anyone else. I left because a then-minority of the members of UCG's governing board (the Council of Elders) including Darris McNeeley, Scott Ashley, and Vic Kubik, completely ignoring their pledge by signing the statement of ethics when they first joined the board to uphold the majority position, resorted to corrupt and underhanded means to "pack" the board with people loyal to them to get a new majority, starting with Robin Webber, and then proceeded to violate the bylaws a number of times in order to get the GCE to vote the way they wanted the GCE to vote. I left because I didn't want anything to do with such corruption. COGWA would not form for several more months yet.

I had always figured there were horrible politics going on in Cincinnati, because that's the way all the COGs are. Not being anywhere near Cincinnati, and not knowing anything about what was going on there, UCG seemed like the best of a bad set of options, my local congregation seemed actually pretty decent, and I didn't know where else to go anyway. But the pastor of my congregation spent the better part of 2010 fighting with the local elders in the congregation who were using just as corrupt and underhanded methods as the board members they were taking marching orders from until he was ousted and was replaced by one of those corrupt board members as our new pastor. Now that I knew in detail what the horrible politics in Cincinnati were, I could no longer turn a blind eye. And with that corruption having taken over my local congregation, I simply couldn't stay.

I certainly didn't begin attending COGWA under the illusion that Clyde Kilough or Jim Franks were necessarily paragons of virtue either, and hadn't done anything wrong in the lead-up to the split. Nor was I under the idealistic impression that COGWA was going to be some sort of Armstrongist utopia. In fact, since COGWA turned out to be a heck of a lot more legalistic, closer to LCG than UCG, it wasn't gonna work out anyway. COGWA was really just a stepping stone on my way out of Armstrongism, and out of religion altogether. But in my local COGWA congregation, the other people who left alongside me, were doing so for similar reasons as I did. The only difference I noticed was they tended to worship HWA in a way I did not.

However, when it did form, going with COGWA seemed, at the time, like the best chance for finding a new relatively decent local congregation. Unfortunately, I was still too tied in socially, and by my family, and I wasn't ready to leave just yet. But watching that split, knowing some of the bad actors involved personally, knowing that this was just a repeat of the corruption of Joe Jr., Mike Feazell, Bernie Schnippert, etc., really made another conclusion inescapable: that there was nothing of value going on in Armstrongism as a movement. There certainly was no "holy spirit" at work within it. It was just an institution comprised of and led by mere mortals, without any godly assistance, authority, or provenance. And the more I questioned, the more I realized what an abominable man HWA was as well.