Sunday, May 21, 2017

Melvin Rhodes: Why He And COG Ministers Have Proven They Prefer Following Men Than The God They Claim To Serve


Melvin Rhodes has an interesting post about life in the fractured Churches of God (The Eclipse of the Church.)  One of his friends died recently whom he had been close to when they were both part of United Church of God (and WCG).  When the United Church of God imploded and thousands of members and 3/4 of its ministry left to form Church of God a Worldwide Association, his friendship was fractured.

Rhodes is experiencing what almost all COG members have experienced because he and the rest of the cabal plotted and schemed for over 6 months in Pasadena while still on WCG payroll.  The actions of this group of men was designed to ensure a steady income because they were soon to be terminated from the WCG.  Thousands joined up with the cabal and formed United Church of God.  They ripped families and friendships apart and it did not care.  Following the new leader, the new human organization was more important!

Rhodes writes:

I lost a good friend this week. [Todd Carey]
We worked together a long time ago.   For many years we’ve been hundreds of miles apart, but we were always able to see each other, with our wives, at our annual church conference.
That is, until the latest split took place.   He and his wife went one way and we went the other.   So, for the last few years of his life, we did not get together.
Church splits can be devastating on relationships.   Even marriages have fallen apart when partners don’t see eye to eye on church affiliation.   More than one church I know of teaches that its followers should have nothing to do with people in other church organizations, even when they are family.
It’s ironic when you consider that Jesus Christ said:  “By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, that you love one another” (John 13:35).
Then Rhodes has this to say:
Unfortunately, churches are not immune from selfish ambition, differences over administration or doctrinal disagreement, three of the primary causes of splits.
The selfish ambitions of the upper echelon UCG leaders are what caused the disruption of thousands of lives, ripping families apart, destroying marriages, and caused numerous suicides.
True Christians will always strive to fulfill the words of Jesus Christ; even as others in their midst will deliberately cause division, believing that God is on their side.
True Christian would  NEVER have lorded themselves over the members, enforcing man-made rules and laws that Jesus never expected or required.
One of the root causes of division is that people have a tendency to follow men.   The Apostle Paul wrote about this in I Corinthians where some were following Apollos, some Peter and some Paul.   As Paul said elsewhere, we should only follow one man and that man is Jesus Christ.   That means we should all live in accordance with His words.   What a novel idea!!!
Just WHEN has the ministry of the Church of God EVER followed Jesus Christ?  They don't even acknowledge him other than continue to break his body each Passover, where they leave him broken and bloody on some school gym floor or Masonic Lodge till the following year.

The law always trumps everything about Jesus.  It trumps everything he said.  It trumps everything he every implied.  It allows spiritual abusing idiots like Bob Thiel, James Malm, Gerald Flurry, Dave Pack, Vic Kubik, Jim Franks, Gerald Weston, and many more, to make the daily lives of church members as miserable as possible.  The church ultimately lacks joy.  It lacks freedom.  It lacks grace. Above all, it lacks mercy.


26 comments:

DPR567 said...

To Prove A Ministers Loyalty To Preaching The Gospel Of Christ Would Be To Cut-out His Church Paycheck And Make Him Get Out And Get An Actual Job "Getting His Hands Dirty". I Bet A Lot Of The Ministers Would Quit Church Altogether.

Anonymous said...

What permeates these churches is bully morally. Church leaders give themselves the perk of verbally bashing members, lying to them, slandering them, intimating them, using abusive mind cult techniques etc. The laws of God and man are considered academic and impractical. What a farce for these leaders to even quote from the bible.

DennisCDiehl said...

"Where two are three are gathered together, one demands to be in charge, one forced listen and the third required to clean up."

Organized religion is an oxymoron at best. With respect to the COGs, it is poorly organized and barely religious. The impediment to growth is that reasoning together has always proved impossible. The template is arrogant, self absorbed and badly trained in theology guy in charge, men who range from well meaning to merely demeaning of others to keep it going and well meaning yet uncritical or Bible haunted members who are told it all pertains to them now in history and "it won't be long now." Carrot and stick.

Ultimately it is our inherent fear of death and "what's going to happen to me" that drives the organization and ignores the drama and stress because there are appropriate scriptures to call on which place the blame on eveything from Satan and false brethren with predicted fallings away to "science so called." You can't lose.

While a bit more lonely than I would normally have been, retreating to a simple life with a profession that fits me , allows me to meet many different people, leaves me nicely tired at the end of every day and provides me with everything I have earned with my own hands and people skills is good enough.

No phones ringing with angry people in theological distress over rumors of what Herb, Joe or Joe Jr wants, said, believes or demands which my gut told me was stupid, harmful, useless and going to lead to more of it. No more lies in Jesus name or losses because "Jesus worked a miracle."

And lots of free time to learn good science done well and collect an occasional meteorite or two , understand how it came to be, where it has spent the past 4.5 billion years and how it ended up on my shelf in my room with Mt Hood and St Helens awaiting another look on the way to work along the Willamette where the WCG saga began.

The neighborhood is a bit haunted by the ghost of HWA as I walk and drive past the landmarks that were meaningful to him evidently but to me it is both ironic and a good lesson in the Buddhist saying "Sometimes in life there is NOTHING left to do but have a good laugh."

Connie Schmidt said...

Lets start solving the division problem! This will require some compromise and melding...

We will have Pack and Franks combine, and the new leader will be known as PRANKS.

Weston and Flurry can combine , and hereafter will be known as WORRY.

Kubik and Thiel can combine and be known as KABAL.

Cox and Weinland can be combined and known as COCKLAND.

Connie Schmidt said...

Lets start solving the division problem! This will require some compromise and melding...

We will have Pack and Franks combine, and the new leader will be known as PRANKS.

Weston and Flurry can combine , and hereafter will be known as WORRY.

Kubik and Thiel can combine and be known as KABAL.

Cox and Weinland can be combined and known as COCKLAND.

Anonymous said...

"Rhodes is experiencing what almost all COG members have experienced because he and the rest of the cabal plotted and schemed for over 6 months in Pasadena while still on WCG payroll"

This accusation is often repeated on this site. What isn't addressed is how for how many years the Tkach, the "Manchurian Candidate" that HWA foolishly selected, planned to hijack this COG and make it Protestant. Talk about lack of Biblical knowledge, Tkach, and little Joe take the cake. Add on their constants lies, "oh no we are not going to teach the Trinity" and the strong armed tactics used to destroy the COG, are the reasons ministers needed to make a plan to exit.

Their is truth that WWG was using fear religion at a time of great turmoil on Earth to lure new members in. I'll never forget as a brand new member attending my first Holy Day with a member telling me the Germany and the Common Market were soon going to nuke America!? I told him that was nuts and have always been an "outsider" in the Church for 45 years.

I new from the beginning there was idol worship in WWCG, but I couldn't ignore the true Biblical teachings I learned which were unfortunately heavily sprinkled with man made baloney.

Wendy Michael said...

Several years ago a WCG minister told me if he ever left Worldwide for a regular job that he would have to take a cut in pay.

Byker Bob said...

There is a paradox. In order to learn about God, most people find themselves in a position where they must consult other people, people who are considered to be more advanced than themselves in that quest and can verbally share today in real time, or have shared in perpetuum through their writings during their lifetime.

Most of us aspire to know something greater than what man can teach us, but inadvertently fall into many of the same traps common to the rest of mankind. But we're all limited by our own five senses and approximate 70 year lifespan.

The problem with the ACOGs is the enforcement: We have all the answers and you must accept them unconditionally.

BB

Dennis Diehl said...

PS. All men follow themselves first. The "I follow God" idea is naive and unprovable. It's like the guy who accused me of using human reason. He thought twice when I asked what kind he used.

Anonymous said...

7.39 AM
But the inexcusable sin of these ministers is that some taught the Tkach changes from the pulpit. They did it to hang onto their jobs and pay checks. Can you imagine Abraham or Daniel teaching lies to people. Ordinary members put their jobs on the line every time they attended a holy day, with some losing their jobs. But no, not the ministers. These same ministers have since disfellowshiped members for by comparison, minor infringements.
Hypocrites.

Anonymous said...

Dennis,
The narrow gate is 'I will follow God' and believe it or not, some get very high marks in this regard. That this 'idea is naïve and unprovable' is the talk of those Christ described as trying to enter through the narrow gate, but have failed.
Not everyone is a failed Christian Dennis!

Anonymous said...

While they were plotting and scheming they were also disfellowshipping people for disagreeing with some of the changes. All while they themselves did not believe the changes and were planning their paid exit to another paying job. Others sat on the sidelines waiting to see what would happen. They preached what they were told while disagreeing. Then once everything was set in place, Off they went to continue abusing people in their new church. Hypocrites!

Martha said...

I don't know if this post makes me more want to cry or laugh.

Initially, I felt smug. Wow, a minister finally got a taste of what he and his ilk have been doing to us sheep for decades. Serves him right.

After that, I repented. In theory, I actually feel worse for the ministers. The splits in the COG community were awful for me. They ripped me away from friends and damaged family relationships. But I always had classmates, co-workers and community peers to whom I could turn. For the most part, ministers don't have co-workers or peers unaffected by these splits. Their entire lives are wrapped up in their current church and can be splintered at the whim of a superior. It's one reason we absolutely refused to pursue the ministerial path. They do it to themselves, and still get the worst end of the deal. Members can always continue their relationships behind the scenes. Ministers, not so much.

Then I went back to feeling smug, and looked up when Melvin Rhodes was forced to resign from the UCG ministry due to "unchristian behavior" (commonly believed to be an extramarital affair). Looks like he would have had only one more General Conference of Elders with Todd Carey, had the UCG-COGWA split not happened, before Rhodes was banished from such conferences. Guess I need to muster up feelings of repentance again...

Then I felt outraged at the point Rhodes makes at the expense of his friend. Rhodes blames a large majority of splits on ministerial divisiveness and selfish ambition. He is essentially saying, I would not have been divided from my friend if not for the divisiveness and ambition of the COGWA leaders. Is this yet another veiled slap at COGWA leaders for dividing the brethren? After all, it wasn't the UCG leadership who left! While I have absolutely NO love lost for COGWA leadership, UCG leadership was not lily white in the split. They set the COGWA leaders up and played right into their hand.

I understand that Melvin is mourning his friend, taken from him too early by death, and even earlier by church politics. He probably hasn't fully thought through the implications of what he's saying. But it seems a little too convenient when he states that "true Christians will always strive to fulfill the words of Jesus Christ, even as others in their midst (will) deliberately cause division, believing that God is on their side." He accuses COGWA leaders of deliberately causing division without any provocation from UCG. And, does this mean they are not "true Christians"? What does this mean for COGWA ministers? And how does it reflect upon the character of Todd Carey, who followed those COGWA leaders, whom Rhodes purports to honor in this post?

For the record, I had knew Todd Carey and had opportunity to volunteer with him several times. I believe he was a good apple that somehow landed in a bad barrel. Nothing I have to say here is intended to reflect upon him. When (on As Bereans Did) I mention the existence of good, sincere COG ministers who got sucked into a bad system, I would absolutely number Todd Carey among them.

Anonymous said...

11:46 AM
"But the inexcusable sin of these ministers is that some taught the Tkach changes from the pulpit. They did it to hang onto their jobs and pay checks."

Totally agree, although our minister did not give in and was fired. But those who taught heresy for a few months or more shouldn't be teaching anyone now. I also don't want to hear that "they were only doing their job". So were Hitler's SS.

That's why I trust no one and question everything, including myself.

Helen Wheels said...

"True Christians will always..."

LOL, he said "true christians"

As if there were such a thing!

DennisCDiehl said...

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Dennis,
The narrow gate is 'I will follow God' and believe it or not, some get very high marks in this regard. That this 'idea is naïve and unprovable' is the talk of those Christ described as trying to enter through the narrow gate, but have failed.
Not everyone is a failed Christian Dennis!

I was a bit unclear as to the who of "men". I meant, in my experience, the leadership of splits and splinters, as well as WCG to begin with. Everyone who "leads" a church thinks their view of scripture is the correct on. Look at Dave Pack. While most see how stupid his theology is, he sees it as truth from God to him to the people. HWA pulled the same stunt with "I did not receive the gospel from any man..." quoting Paul, who himself had the problem of my way or the highway theologically. Paul even cursed those who brought another gospel from the one he taught which was different from what Peter, James and John taught who also felt they got it from God.

Thiel got his ideas from God. Malm is in direct contact with God. Each believes their ideas reflect God's, whoever they think God is to them.

God informs the Pope, the Trinity Broadcast, Liberty University, Gerald Flurry,

That is what I meant. Just as each thinks they think and reason like God while those who disagree merely have to rely on human reasoning.

DennisCDiehl said...

I have met many very sincere practicing Christians no matter what kind of Christianity they practice. No doubt about it.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know what Todd died from? I tried googling it but there wasn't much information available. Typically when the cause of death is left out, it means the person committed suicide.

RSK said...

I like this part:
"Unfortunately, churches are not immune from selfish ambition, differences over administration or doctrinal disagreement, three of the primary causes of splits."

Funny, isnt that exactly how churches are usually birthed?

Martha said...

It wasn't suicide. He had ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease). I have not seen anything official. Since Todd Carey wasn't in church administration or his death didn't come in some official capacity, I don't think COGWA had any need to make a public statement.

Anonymous said...

It was nice of melvin Rhodes to express his feelings of sadness at Todd Carey's death. But when Melvin writes of selfish ambition does he mean his own ? For he wrought much damage himself, shoulders some if not a lot of blame himself.
He crowned himself and suffered the consequences. He is a talented writer and his writing is very much missed in Beyond Today magazine.

Anonymous said...

First, and foremost, all love and respect to Mr. Carey and his family.

Martha, I appreciate your point of view in this, as I am a new member of Cogwa and have no history with UCG.

When you said, "I believe he was a good apple that somehow landed in a bad barrel," it made me think, "Well, we are all 'bad' in some way, sometimes, sadly....Perhaps God allowed Mr. Carey to be there to stand in the gap and uplift and edify the "bad" bunch....I know I can be a bad person, sometimes, which I try to repent of daily and do better the next day." Remember the parable of the tares among the wheat? Well, I believe he was some of the good wheat. Whether a minister is good or not, what a huge accountability one must give!

One of the ways we can keep our sanity and peace of mind is by standing up to be a warrior for Yeshua, by dwelling in His Perfect Liberty of Grace, Mercy and Forgiveness. If we do not forgive others, God will not forgive us. I pray we can all find the love, courage and faith in our hearts to somehow, someday forgive those who have greatly wronged us--they will have to make an account before Him one Day...as will I.

There is No perfect church, but I am always in the pursuit of finding one accord with brethren who are truly trying to put on the mind of Yeshua. By their fruits you will know them. I have left a church before, I could leave again IF I had to, but I certainly hope that day doesn't come again. Nevertheless, Yeshua is Who I answer to every day, He Is the Head of the Church--not any president of any "church". There are God's people in all of the splinter groups, Yeshua's Body is spiritual, and we must worship Him in sincerity and truth.

Loving with all we have and constantly trying to esteem each other better than ourselves is the narrow but difficult path, but it is God's Way and the only Way to salvation. I will try my best to walk the path Yeshua has commanded, and in that I will find peace. LCG, UCG, Cogwa, etc. can't grant me peace and safety, only Yeshua can.

I pray for all of you who have been hurt! I have been hurt, too, but somehow, loving is the only way my heart can heal. I have to love that pain out somehow, and that love comes from Abba.

Martha said...

Anonymous,

Thanks for sharing your background. Since it sounds like you are new to the Church of God Community, let me offer some background and, for what it's worth, my perspective and experience. I'll offer links from the blog to which I contribute as background information should you wish to pursue further.

I grew up in the Worldwide Church of God (WCG), which was founded by Herbert Armstrong.

http://asbereansdid.blogspot.com/2014/11/herbert-w-armstrong-why-he-still-matters.html

Some ministers and members broke off from WCG in the years that followed Armstrong's death in 1986. Eleven years later, in 1995, there was a large exodus from WCG when the group's new leaders attempted to overturn the doctrines established by Herbert Armstrong. A large group of ministers and members formed the United Church of God (UCG).

http://asbereansdid.blogspot.com/2014/11/herbert-w-armstrongs-doctrines-and-fruit.html

Small groups of ministers and members broke off from from UCG over time. Larger, factional divisions began to form in UCG between 2008 and 2009. Divisive issues included relocating the church's home office, alleged doctrinal change, personal documents being leaked on the Internet. Mud was slung on both sides. In late 2010, a large number of UCG ministers broke off to form COGWA. It later came to light that many ministers who formed the newly-minted COGWA fomented the split through social media, calculated through sizing up the brethren when they would have enough of a tithe base to break away, and released confidential UCG documents that painted the church in an even poorer light than UCG already presented itself. While many in COGWA have tried to downplay these allegations, COGWA never pursued any action against the sites that released the information.

http://asbereansdid.blogspot.com/search?q=social+media+pays


I realize that, biblically speaking, we are all "bad apples." There is not one righteous, not even one. (Romans 3:10). I guess I am making more of a statement about the state of the barrel than the state of an individual apple. I do not believe that WCG, or any of the other groups that grew out of it, could naturally produce "good apples" because they are not built on the true Foundation - the one you call Yeshua. Instead, they are built on the foundations of Herbert Armstrong and on his cherry-picked tenets of the Sinai Covenant. Herbert Armstrong did not display the fruit of the Spirit, he is known for the works of the flesh. In fact, he is accused of some heinous crimes - and many high-level ministers in both UCG and COGWA - have confirmed they are aware of them. Now, God COULD work with anyone - we know that. But there is little indication, according to biblical instruction - that was happening with HWA, and the fruit of his life bore that out.

Martha said...

So, according to that logic, it's unlikely that UCG - which was specifically formed to preserve the teachings of HWA - could be a good barrel. Some have accused the UCG ministry of employing the same questionable behavior in 1995 as COGWA did in 2010 - I don't know, I was too young and they were viewed as white knights in my home. And I would definitely say that, if the allegations against COGWA leaders are true, this organization definitely would not produce good fruit. And I experienced some/was drawn in by some of their tactics personally, so I have no reason to believe that the rest of the allegations aren't true. Personally, I would say that my time in COGWA was very dark, spiritually speaking.

Many believe that the fruit of the COG community has been overwhelmingly poor - fractured families, marriages broken up by the ministry, alcoholism, depression, suicide. Matthew 7:16-18 comes to mind.

I would not hesitate to describe Todd Carey as a "good apple". I was in WCG, UCG and COGWA for more than 30 years and can think of several men I would describe as "good apples." Kind, caring and sincere. But a handful of good apples cannot uplift or heal a diseased tree. Why God allows them to remain, I don't know. My hope and prayer is that He draws them out of these dangerous cults and uses them to free others. This obviously was not His plan for Todd Carey. But my favorite verse is Ephesians 2:8-9, that we are saved by faith, and that if I don't believe righteousness or perfect doctrine saves me, then God's plan makes a way for even those of faith caught up in cults that preach a false gospel.

I do not visit sites like this because I like to dwell in the past, or nurture a root of bitterness. I have found the peace and joy in the Lord, but it only came through leaving the COGs. That journey was painful, frightening and overwhelming, as it is for others who leave other cults like the Jehovah's Witnesses, LDS and others. Many of us are here because we have successfully completed the journey to freedom and Christ and want to help others to escape the spiritual oppression of these groups. I will be praying for you.

Anonymous said...

Dear Martha, you are a pearl. :) Thank You for taking the time and thought to respond. I will take all that you said into account and will be praying about it. And I will definitely pray for you, too, so thank you for praying for me. I know I don't have all the answers, but I'm trying: brings a whole new meaning to working out our own salvation with fear and trembling.

I've been studying the Four Gospels lately. He Is the True Teacher, isn't He? He is the Teacher of Love, Mercy, Grace, and Compassion--but He's no pushover, either! In the end, it won't matter how much money we had or what kind of car we drove or who we rubbed elbows with. In the end, all that matters is that we loved God with all our hearts, souls and minds, AND loved our neighbor as our self--everything hinges upon that. God's Instructions were so simple, yet people try to make them soooo complicated! If we can become like little children, visit the widow, the fatherless, the sick; feed the hungry, clothe the hungry; pray for one another, weep with one another, rejoice with one another, lay down our lives for one another--THIS is what God looks for!

I pray that God will Guide me in grace and in knowledge, cleansing myself of any Sadducee/Pharisaical malarkey from my past.

I know this is a direct question, but where do you attend now? (Wish we could private message.)

I loved what you said, "But my favorite verse is Ephesians 2:8-9, that we are saved by faith, and that if I don't believe righteousness or perfect doctrine saves me, then God's plan makes a way for even those of faith caught up in cults that preach a false gospel," which reminded me of God's Anger towards false pastors:

"Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith
the Lord.

2 Therefore thus saith the Lord God of Israel against the pastors that feed my
people; Ye have scattered my flock, and driven them away, and have not visited
them: behold, I will visit upon you the evil of your doings, saith the Lord...

14 I have seen also in the prophets of Jerusalem an horrible thing: they commit
adultery, and walk in lies: they strengthen also the hands of evildoers, that none
doth return from his wickedness; they are all of them unto me as Sodom, and the
inhabitants thereof as Gomorrah.

15 Therefore thus saith the Lord of hosts concerning the prophets; Behold, I will
feed them with wormwood, and make them drink the water of gall: for from the
prophets of Jerusalem is profaneness gone forth into all the land.

16 Thus saith the Lord of hosts, Hearken not unto the words of the prophets that
prophesy unto you: they make you vain: they speak a vision of their own heart, and
not out of the mouth of the Lord.

17 They say still unto them that despise me, The Lord hath said, Ye shall have
peace; and they say unto every one that walketh after the imagination of his own
heart, No evil shall come upon you" (Jer. 23:1-2, 14-17).

Yes, it was also painful, frightening and overwhelming for me as well coming out of a previous cog, this is where growing in grace and in knowledge comes in because I still have A LOT of learning to do! I will definitely check out your blog--I'm not afraid of Truth; Truth is Truth, no matter where it comes. Thank You, Martha!

Martha said...

Thank you, anonymous, for your kind words. I'm only doing what others have done for me. And we all have a lot of learning to do. The more I study, the more I believe I have to learn.

You can always email me at marthacog@gmail.com. If you're still in a place where you don't want to disclose your identity, that's totally fine. You can always create an alternate gmail address and message me from that, too.