Thursday, June 29, 2017

United Church of God: Trouble in Paradise With Mark Mickelson

Updated 6/30/17

God's most unified church is struggling to maintain control of its ministry and its ability to change doctrinal teachings.

Recently the big boys in Cincinnati tried to work through by vote a policy where 2/3rds of those present members at the conference voting could vote in a new rule that 3/4ths voting members PRESENT could change rules and doctrines instead of 3/4's off ALL the ministry. It failed miserably.

UCG has also been having to do damage control over one of its ministers, Mark Michelson. He has been preaching a lot recently that the God of the Old Testament (YHVH) was known exclusively as God the Father. The name YHVH cannot, according to Mickelson, refer to Jesus His sermons have been circulating around UCG like wildfire. Some agree with him and many do not. What brought it all to light was the fact that his sermons were being posted to the Spokane website which allowed all UCG members access.

The boys in UCG were none too happy.  One of the excuses that UCG has used for two decades was that the nature of God doctrine was their reason to leave the Worldwide Church of God.  While WCG was moving to a trinitarian position, which many present-day UCG ministers supported while still receiving a WCG paycheck, they could not stand the fact that the Holy Spirit might also be God.  Entrenched in Herbert Armstrong's understanding after his 6-month study in the Portland library, the men quickly abandoned the trinitarian position once they started getting paid by UCG.

Now the UCG is having to defend its self once again over the nature of God with Mark Mickelson's stance that there is only one God, God the Father (YHVH).  Jesus is not YHVH, contrary to what Herbert Armstrong had always taught.  Many of the things Michelson teaches is similar to  Ken Westby and The One God Seminars.

Vic Kubik and Don Ward came out with a letter, signed by them both, about the present confusion of many UCG members on doctrines that they are expected to believe.
Do you understand what we teach regarding God the Father and Jesus Christ?
Some sermons have recently created confusion about the nature of God the Father and Jesus Christ. Do all of us fully understand what we believe and preach on this subject? How long has it been since you reviewed the study papers and other Church publications on the topic in question? In many cases it’s been too long. The nature of God and Christ was one of the topics of controversy that led to the formation of the United Church of God.
The questions surrounding the nature of God have been debated for centuries. The only valid source we have is the Bible. We must use sound principles of exegesis in reaching our conclusions. Below are resources that we encourage you to read and study deeply regarding the nature of God and Christ. 
Can they seriously believe what they wrote in the paragraph above?  They seriously believe they use "sound principles of exegesis?   Seriously?  When has the COG EVER used sound exegesis?

Kubik and Ward both feel that members continue to be swayed to and fro by doctrinal issues due to not being grounded in what they are expected to believe. Part of the problem with UCG members is that summer is here. Seriously! Summer! The summer is now warming up and church members are becoming lazy in their Bible Study and reading. Once again the members are too stupid to know what they are supposed to believe.
The purpose of this letter is to encourage all of us to continue to fight the good fight of faith and be settled in the faith. Here in the Northern Hemisphere we are now entering the long, hot summer, and it’s a time when there can be a let-down in our spiritual lives—as there are so many distractions in the world today. It is a time in which people travel, go on vacation and young people go to camp. All this is coupled with the perilous times in which are living.
It is also a time in which we can easily become lax in renewing the inward man on a daily basis. We often need to be reminded of the exhortation that the apostle Paul gave the Hebrews: “Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away” (Hebrews 2:1). We are committed to guarding those precious truths that God has revealed to us. And at the same time, we are admonished by the apostle Peter to grow in grace and in knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We should always keep in mind that the Church of God is the pillar and ground of the truth (1 Timothy 3:15).
From time to time some brethren have become troubled by sermons or conversations in which they get the idea that the Church is going to change doctrine. So let’s be reminded of the process necessary for changing the official doctrine of the United Church of God (UCG). Even though there is a rigorous review process in place for sermons and articles that appear on our website or in our Church’s publications, some few sermons may not properly represent the official doctrine of the Church.
It seems the fine folk in Spokane have been very negligent in posting Mark Mickelson's sermons. The Boys in Cincinnati are not happy. The veiled comment below is directed at Mark Mickelson, even though they do not mention him directly. While the Spokane UCG has removed Mark's sermons from their website, Mark still has not stopped preaching his understanding.
Some congregations are not as vigilant as they could be in monitoring sermons placed on their local church website. And some few sermons do not properly reflect the official doctrines of the Church. So let’s be reminded of the process necessary for changing the official doctrines of the Church.
Kubik then makes a hypocritical statement below on how all UCG ministers must tow the line and teach only what UCG wants to be taught. He seems to forget he failed to do this exact same thing while still employed by WCG as he sat in 360 South Orange Grove plotting and scheming to started UCG. While doing this he paid lip service to WCG's new doctrinal stances, even disfellowshipping those that did not agree with WCG's new direction. Kubik does not want any of his ministers doing likewise now that he is in charge. 

Our ministry, and all who speak for UCG, should remember the teaching of the apostle Paul when he said an elder must “[hold] fast the faithful word as he has been taught” (Titus 1:9). Paul also said we are to “hold fast the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me, in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 1:13). We have been entrusted with a sound doctrinal heritage. Our messages to God’s people should always be grounded in the truth of Scripture and the doctrinal teachings we hold.

How long will we have to wait till Mickelson is fired as a minister and removed from the Council of Elders and he starts his own splinter group? What would the Church of God be without yet one more splinter group?

See: Letter from the Chairman and President, June 28, 2017


Anonymous said...

That Christ is a created being (in fact the archangel Michael) is the Jehovah witness position. How can a created being pay for the sins of mankind???
As many You Tube dissident videos point out, their 7 man governing body have effectively put themselves in place of Christ. They claim salvation can only come from being a member of their church (forget about salvation coming exclusively through Christ) and that their words are the words of God (forget about all their failed prophecies). They give lip service to God while exercising all the power and responsibilities of God over members lives. This is the same sin of Moses pushing God to one side, but with some deceitful window dressing.

The xGOGs are not Jehovah witnesses, but it points out the direction and motivation of those who adapt some of their teachings. I've been watching many of these YouTube videos, and am amazed at the similarity between the Jehovah witnesses and the xCOGs. The xCOGs are a diluted jW, a JW lite. By their fruits it's obvious that many ministers, past and present are closet JWs.
Watch the dissident videos and judge for yourself. Oh yes, the JW forbid their members from visiting non JW sites, just like the xCOGs. Surprise, surprise. And they use permissive shunning to blackmail members into submission etc, etc.

Anonymous said...

It looks like a split is in the works headed by Mickelson.

Anonymous said...

. How can a created being pay for the sins of mankind???

The Jewish sacrificial system allowed for created beings -- bulls, doves, etc. -- to pay for sins. Eventually, a "perfect" red heifer will be part of re-establishing the Temple sacrifices.

The issue isn't "created" -- it's the issue of "perfect." As long as Michael is a "perfect" sinless being, and he led a perfect human life, it doesn't matter whether he is an angel or God.

Obviously, this is bunk. But if you think it is somehow "impossible" then you are also undermining not only the Garden of Eden story but the whole sacrificial system that ACOGs believe was set up by God.

Anonymous said...

LCG must be having its own similar problems, or else the leadership must be very insecure about people accepting Gerald Weston. This week's new sermon on their website is of Mr. Meredith discussing "The Importance of True Government".

The Importance of True Government

Let's remember that, according to the logic of Meredith's sermon, Joe Tkach was the appointed leader after HWA. By Meredith's own logic, he had no business rebelling against God's appointed leader.

Being a Christian is an activity that transforms a person's whole life, from his family relationships to his business dealings to his social priorities to his way of looking at world events. "Obeying Church government" is just one small part of that big picture, however vital it may be, yet it seems that LCG spends more time teaching its people obedience to Church government than on any other Christian living topic. How depressing it must be to be an LCG member!

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:06 AM stated: "That Christ is a created being (in fact the archangel Michael) is the Jehovah witness position..."

Mark Mickelson, to my knowledge, does not believe that JW position at all. Mark has been citing scriptures showing how God the Father is different from the Word, and how God the Father is different from Jesus Christ.

As one example, there is Acts 3:13, which states:

"The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus; whom ye delivered up, and denied him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go."

IOW, The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob is NOT, cannot be, Jesus Christ. And Jesus Christ is NOT the God of the Old Testament.

As God the Father has done things through the Word, so has God the Father been doing things through Jesus Christ.

"But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him." I Corinthians 8:6 etc.

What will VKubik/DWard achieve if they oust Mark Mickelson? Probably more shrinkage of United, but United is only an association of hirelings, who left their ministerial credentials behind in Pasadena when they fled the WCG.

What will be achieved? Just more fleeing, more scattering.

Besides some of the things that the United Ass. still teach are junk food and needs to be changed...e.g their belief in a Mickey Mouse Millennium where their Jesus Christ soon begins a reign on earth for 1,000 years, then Satan comes out of the pit, messes up Jerusalem, again deceives the entire world and the peace they experienced and that "kingdom of God on earth" fails..........Where was Jesus Christ?

So, who is that God of the Old Testament?

If the answer isn't evident: that is okay b/c time will tell...


Anonymous said...

..."Jesus is not God and is a created being who has not eternally existed..."

Where is Mark Mickelson saying This?

Do you have a specific Sermon where this is being said?

"Christ being Created", where does he say this?

Jane Doe said...

The Best Thing UCG Can Do Is Stop Teaching The False Teachings They Got From Herbie Armstrong.

DennisCDiehl said...

and too....

A Jesus that never wrote anything personally except for drawing a circle on the ground around an adulterous woman he wanted to protect, is first written about by "Mark" in little snippets none of which he actually witnessed , called "insane" by his mother and brothers, then upgraded and corrected by Matthew who copied 94% of Mark and by Luke who copied 54% of Mark, neither of whom also never actually witnessed anything Jesus did, who prior to the Gospels was a Cosmic Deity spoken of by Paul who never quotes any earthly Jesus of the Gospels because he never met him except in visions, and which were not yet written in his lifetime, is not a good case for much of anything actually....

I don't miss the concept of corporate belief "so there be no divisions amongst you" or else...
Mikelson is toast

Connie Schmidt said...

The Binitarian position of the UCG/WCG , COG 7th Day etc, was not established or "thought up" by HWA.

Even the SDAs believed such until around the 1930s.

The leaders of the early post 1844 Miller disappointment , Adventist movement, of with virtually all Sabbatarian groups outside of the Seventh Day Baptists can trace their history, were heavily influenced by the teachings of a group called "Christian Connexion" (yes with the X in the title).

Christian Connexion was an Americana religious group, with a "back to the Bible" philosophy which arose in the very late 1700s/ early 1800s. Many of the early Post Miller Sabbatarian ministers were ordained Christian Connexion preachers.

A thorough understanding of the modern COGS and the SDAs is not complete without an investigation into the primitive roots of their origins in Christian Connexion. Wikipedia offers a thumb sketch overview of the movement.

Connie Schmidt said...

The Binitarian position of the UCG/WCG , COG 7th Day etc, was not established or "thought up" by HWA.

Even the SDAs believed such until around the 1930s.

The leaders of the early post 1844 Miller disappointment , Adventist movement, of with virtually all Sabbatarian groups outside of the Seventh Day Baptists can trace their history, were heavily influenced by the teachings of a group called "Christian Connexion" (yes with the X in the title).

Christian Connexion was an Americana religious group, with a "back to the Bible" philosophy which arose in the very late 1700s/ early 1800s. Many of the early Post Miller Sabbatarian ministers were ordained Christian Connexion preachers.

A thorough understanding of the modern COGS and the SDAs is not complete without an investigation into the primitive roots of their origins in Christian Connexion. Wikipedia offers a thumb sketch overview of the movement.

Byker Bob said...

The Armstrong movement always retained as much of the Old Covenant as they deemed logical or possible from the very beginning. So further regression by a subset of their membership really comes as no surprise. Old wineskins. Partial understanding of at best 2/3 of God.

UCG should send Mikelson to the Westby group. Doesn't Anthony the buzzard also espouse this supposed "one God" heresy?


nck said...


Oh please, the Jehovah Witness position?

The Cathars in southern France held that position in the 1400 hundreds and of course the Muslem faith from 700 AD and many many more......


Anonymous said...

I heard a lot of Mickelson's sermons and have talked with him about God the Father. I have never heard him say the Christ was a created being. His point has been the God the Father has not been fully understood as to the Father's involvement with Israel and the Father role in the New Testament church.

There's no question that Christ was in complete submission to the Father and the Father is greater than Christ.

Of course, being a member for decades, with COG's overly focused on the Sabbath, Holy Days, etc., I told Mark that the most part in the past, Christ was sitting in the back of the bus. He didn't disagree, but my desire for more of a focus on Christ's examples (being Christ like) does necessarily conflict with Mark's point the Father's role and position should also be better appreciated.

Still Learning said...

This part struck me: "How long has it been since you reviewed the study papers and other Church publications on the topic in question?" followed by "The only valid source we have is the Bible."

Okay, so if the only valid source of understanding is the Bible, why do we have to run to the 'study papers and other Church publications' in order to properly understand the subject?

nck said...

Excellent Connie,

Not all aberrant originated with hwa. Christianity had their funny lot from the very start.

Like the aberrant group ultimately growing into the muslem faith originating in a rigorous orthodox interpretation of the jewish books larded with syriac christianity.

The one hope for humanity is to rediscover those roots of the three Abrahamic religions through the globalist armstrongism. As HWA tried in 1978 with Saddat in the Sinai.


Anonymous said...

4.17 AM
No, no no. First, how can a angel be perfect if Satan and a third of his angels rebelled. God does not trust the angels and has put the universe under the rulership of future born again humans, not the angels. So how can a imperfect angel not sin as a human?
The issue isn't perfection, but rather worth. God says that all nations before Him are as a drop in the bucket. God the Father and Christ are worth more than mankind. Which is why Christ death covers everyone sins. The ancient sacrificial system just pointed to Christ.
If scarifying animals pays for peoples sins, then why Christs death?

Anonymous said...

4.33 AM
You seem to be ignorant/deceived or deliberately ignoring 'obeying church government.' In these churches, this is a code word for lording it over members lives. Church members are ROBBED of their rights and Hid given responsibilities. Mathew, Mark and Luke all instruct leaders not to lord it over members like the gentiles. But the ministers have chosen to put their faith in bully morality in stead. Only violence, threats, intimidation, lording it, deception works.
This is not 'Gods government' but 'Satan government.'
These apostate ministers are disobeying both God and the bible.

Anonymous said...

Many religions have some version of 144,000. That doesn't mean that they are JWs or a abusive cult.

Ronco said...

Perhaps Jelly could clear the air by promulgating a series of encyclicals on UCG's
Christological dogma...

Yes and No to HWA said...

Part 1

Two verses that proponents also use in arguing that God the Father, was the only God of the Old Testament, are:

Heb 1:1 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,
Heb 1:2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;

though the last part of verse 2 would possibly raise some questions.

The author of Hebrews is stating the ‘absolute’ or ‘primary’ interpretation.

In Lamentations 2 “(God is the overt subject of 29 out of the first 31 verbs!): God “destroyed,” ‘broken down,” “cut down,” “withdrawn (his protective hand),” “burned,” “bent his bow,” “”killed,” “poured out his fury,” “become like an enemy,”...” (so F.W. Dobbs-Allsopp, Lamentations, Interpretation, p.82).

Paul W. Ferris notes that in the defeat of Zedekiah’s Judah “Yahweh is the primary actor, Babylonia the secondary means” (Lamentations, EBC, Rev Ed., Vol.7,p.589).

The argument, then, is that, in the OT God the Father is the “primarily” God and Jesus Christ is the “secondary” God, using Paul Ferris’ terminology. (As Jesus Christ said: “for my Father is greater that I” (John 14:28).

The NIV Study Bible notes on the NT ‘shema’ (1 Cor 8:6) that “God the Father is the ultimate source of all creation (Ac 4:24). God the Son is the dynamic one through whom, with the Father, all things came into existence (Jn 1:3; Col 1:16).”

It may also be said, for want of better terminology, that God is the “ultimate” God and Jesus Christ is the “dynamic” God.

Acts 3:13 acknowledges that God the Father was the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Jacob also acknowledge another God-being:

Ge 48:15 And he blessed Joseph, and said, God, before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac did walk, the God which fed me all my life long unto this day,
Ge 48:16 The Angel which redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads; and let my name be named on them, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth.

To clarify which God Jacob was addressing he refers to Jesus Christ as the “Angel” (mal’ak).

Jesus Christ was the ‘dynamic’ God of Jacob; and of his descendants:

Exo 13:17 And it came to pass, when Pharaoh had let the people go, that God led them not through the way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near; for God said, Lest peradventure the people repent when they see war, and they return to Egypt:
Exo 13:21 And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night:
Exo 14:19 And the angel of God, which went before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind them; and the pillar of the cloud went from before their face, and stood behind them:

“How God led the Israelites (v.17) is now explained. This single “pillar” (14:24), which was a cloud by day and a fire by night, ... was a visible presence of Yahweh in their midst. The pillar of the cloud and fire was but another name for “the angel of God,” for Exodus 14:19 equates the two as does 23:20-23. In fact, God’s Name was “in” this angel who went before them to bring them into Canaan (23:220-23). He was the “angel of his presence” (Isa 63:8-9). Malachi 3:1 calls this angel the “messenger of the covenant,” who is equated with the Lord, the owner of the temple. Obviously, then, the Christ of the NT is the Shekinah glory or [the ‘ultiomate’] Yahweh of the OT. Through this cloudy pillar the Lord would speak to Moses (33:9-11) and to the people (Ps 99:6-7). Such easy movement from the pillar of cloud and fire to the angel of the Lord himself has already been met in the same interchange between the burning bush, the angel, and the Lord in chapter 3...” (Walter C. Kaiser, Jr, Exodus, Vol.2, EBC, p.385).

Yes and No to HWA said...

Part 2

Jn 8:58 Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.
Jn 8:41b ... Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God.
Jn 8:54 Jesus answered, If I honour myself, my honour is nothing: it is my Father that honoureth me; of whom ye say, that he is your God:

“... the most remarkable thing that happened in the faith of the earliest followers of Jesus is that they came to identify him - Jesus - with Yahweh, in calling him Lord, and in many other ways. So, yes it is certainly true, from a whole-Bible perspective, that the God Yahweh of the Old Testament ‘embodies’ (if that is not too human a word) the Son... But on the whole it is probably more appropriate in most cases that, when we read about Yahweh, we should have God the Father in mind” (Christopher J. H. Wright, Knowing God the Father through the Old Testament, p.17).

Hoss said...

Ontotheology is certainly a divisive path to take, and it could result in splinters a-plenty. I was trying to think of working a pun into this, but I can't.

Anonymous said...

The real trouble in paradise for UCG is that their bubble has well and truly burst. NoOne trusts them anymore. They angrily denied they were changing whilst they openly campaigned to change their voting percentage. They have made themselves the laughing stock of COG land as no one trusts a word they say. Far too much politics for far too many years.

Anonymous said...

Anon, June 30, 2017 at 12:06 PM, wrote: "...First, how can a angel be perfect if Satan and a third of his angels rebelled..."

They, Satan and his angels (Matthew 25:41) are perfectly evil!

Proverbs 16:4 The LORD hath MADE all things for himself: yea, even the WICKED for the day of EVIL.

Isaiah 45:7 I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and CREATE EVIL: I the LORD do all these things.

Ezekiel 28:15 Thou wast PERFECT in THY WAYS from the day that thou WAST CREATED, till iniquity was found in thee.

Certainly none of them vile, evil, things are perfect in God's Ways.

Anybody have sin in their lives?

"He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil." I John 3:8

It looks like Jesus Christ was murdered to accomplish more than just enable the world's sins to be forgiven (2 Cor 5:19) and allow mankind to "live again!"

But time will tell...


Anonymous said...

John 7.58 AM
I have read and re-read your post, but don't get your point/s.

Anonymous said...

Only in UCG...

That basically sums up the continual drama that is the United Church of God. Among all the COG's, they stand out as the most divided, chaotic and consistently perplexing of all the groups. If they have a problem with certain elders giving erroneous sermons and congregations posting them on their local websites, why not deal directly with the problem? UCG, in theory, has authority over their congregations and UCG's server hosts the congregational sites. They could deal with this problem easily. But, instead, they take an internal problem and write a letter to the whole church and post it publicly on their website. Really, think about it, the ultimate authority in UCG is warning members to beware of sermons by their own elders! Now UCG members who had no idea about the questionable messages will be curious and/or unsettled and the rest of the COG community see's an organization that continues to be the poster-child for chaos and disunity. During their crisis in 2010, the UCG administration consistently made bad decisions and essentially forced a split. You add to that their goofy videos and their post 2010 ordination spree, the only thing you can really say is...

Only in UCG...

Byker Bob said...

What group amongst the ACOGs has not made themselves a laughing stock? Which group actually could be trusted?


Anonymous said...

BB 10.00 am comment, I'm anon 2.45, and your right who amongst any of the group's can be trusted. Who indeed, i don't even think they trust themselves. I have written on my bible inside cover from many years ago, trust no one but God. How true I have found that to be.
Anon 9.57 your comments are superb, thank you for sharing them.

Anonymous said...

9.57 AM
So you mock the UCG for warning their members about a serious doctrinal issue. Isn't that their God given responsibility? Maybe they believed the truth is more important than what outsiders will think, or what readers on Banned might say.

Anonymous said...

What is happening in the UCG is nothing but the continuing shrinking and splitting of Armstrongism. Would the last one to leave please turn off the lights!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 9:57...

I'm not mocking UCG at all. But I am saying that this is an example of UCG's inability to deal with internal issues. If elders are preaching heresy...correct, fire, de-credential or remove speaking privileges. If congregations are posting heretical messages, take those messages down and remove their ability to post sermons on the local website system. It is controlled by Cincinnati. But, instead, they warn the Church against to be aware of their own elders. How can you have confidence in an organization when it tells you that your own local leadership is in error and you should be aware of it them...instead of actually dealing with it?

Sadly, when they lost hundreds of experienced elders a few years ago, UCG was left scrambling and hired and ordained scores of individuals who probably aren't qualified for the positions they were given. So they will likely continue to deal with these kinds of issues for years as a result.

Anonymous said...

Anon July 1, 2017 at 8:31 AM wrote: "I have read and re-read your post, but don't get your point/s."

I was basically giving scriptures to show that Satan and his angels were made, that is: created, perfectly evil.

As another example, Satan has no fear of God:

"Upon earth there is not his like, who is MADE WITHOUT fear." Job 41:33

Another example, Satan is a waster!

"...and I have created THE WASTER to destroy." Isaiah 54:16

Satan and his angels exist for a purpose. We are learning about evil, and learning to hate evil. All humanity is caught up in sin (I John 3:8...first 8 words) and all humans have been appointed once to die.

Satan did have a beginning. So did Jesus Christ. So did the Word, but not so God the Father, who is "forever." Satan and his angels are only "for." There will be no "ever" attached to that word.

They will eventually be destroyed (Matthew 25:41, 46) along with Satan's works.

Time will tell...


Anonymous said...

I have listened to every sermon by Mark, and never has he said that God the Father is the only one. He tries to emphasize that it has been both Jesus Christ and the Father working together for eternity. Both of them together. Before you level accusations, why don't you have some references?

Anonymous said...

Just wondering where I could obtain copy of Mark's paper.