Saturday, January 8, 2011

So Where Were You When God Called You into the Belief---I mean Truth?

So Where Were You When God Called You into the Belief-I mean Truth?

"I don't know anything that gives me greater pleasure, or profit either, than talking or listening to philosophy. But when it comes to ordinary conversation, such as the stuff you talk about financiers and the money market, well, I find it pretty tiresome personally, and I feel sorry that my friends should think they're being very busy when they're really doing absolutely nothing. Of course, I know your idea of me: you think I'm just a poor unfortunate, and I shouldn't wonder if your right. But then I don't THINK that you're unfortunate - I know you are."

"The difference between a man who is led by opinion or emotion and one who is led by reason. The former, whether he will or not, performs things of which he is entirely ignorant; the latter is subordinate to no one, and only does those things which he knows to be of primary importance in his life, and which on that account he desires the most; and therefore I call the former a slave, but the latter free."
(David Hume, 1737)

What happens when one is faced with the reality that ones truth is not really true? What do Christians, of all types, do when their truth turns out to be merely a belief that has been found wanting?

Years ago I gave a sermon using the then new and fascinating 3D art form where one had to practically go into a trance, release the fixation on the wavy pattern of nonsensical forms and let the mind sense another way of looking before one could see that, indeed, there was a 3D picture of ships and sharks staring you right in the face. I had this picture on a tripod by the lectern during the sermon which was on "Can you see it?" I suppose the point at the time was seeing the truth etc. What was fascinating was the crowd that gathered around the picture after the sermon to try and see what I saw and indeed, was there to be seen.

Some saw it right away and gave themselves a big pat on the back and acted like it was no big deal. They became the instant experts at helping others "see" it too. They pontificated on how to look, how to stand, how to relax ones eyes etc, and to their dismay, most could not do it with the pressure they were putting on them to "see it." The one or two who did received a great congratulations which was really the zealot congratulating himself for being such a good teacher.

Others were quiet, not needing help, nor wanting it. They would figure it out. Some quietly did and some did not and just wandered away perhaps feeling a bit dumb for not being able to see it or wondering if everyone that did see it was nuts. Some rejoiced when they finally could see the ships and sharks and some got mad when they couldn't and never did. It was fascinating and I learned more about how we see the truth of something after the sermon than I did in giving the sermon.

The fact is that a belief is just that and not necessarily a truth or the truth. We all have believed many things that turned out not to be so true from the not so reality of Santa Claus to the idea that perhaps I was not a part of the one really really true, only and exclusive Church of God. But belief goes further than that and mere belief in something does not make it truth by any means, or there would not be so much disagreement, for example on the doctrines, history, meaning and intent of God, the Prophets, Jesus, the Disciples, Paul, and all the so called "early Church (which Church?) Fathers.

Other impediments to the truth are the following beliefs. It should not be such a threat to question these core beliefs, but in fact, one might never come to see anymore truth if one gets stuck in these erroneous beliefs.
The Bible says it, I believe it, that does it for me"

To which we might add. "Darwin said it, I believe it, that settles it." If you think this is a silly reason for accepting evolution, you know why "The Bible says it, I believe it, that settles it" is a silly reason for accepting Creationism. But the evolution side does not use that argument: the Theory of Evolution is based on evidence, not Darwin's authority.

The Bible is literally true

To which we might add...There are many things in the Bible that are not literally true or did not literally happen. Yet to even hint at this is to raise the ire of fundamentalists. Joshua did not really raise his arms and stop the earth from rotating which is what stopping the sun from going down for "about a whole day" really is all about. Yet we struggle with thinking we simply have to believe that is literally true or God will be angry at us and label us as weak in the faith. Ok, well it won't really be God letting you know that, but it might be your Pastor.

The Bible says it is true

To Which we might add the Bible also calls a bat a bird which we know is not true or that snakes and donkeys can talk at times and do. It tells us humans can survive ovens, Fiery Chariots pick up the good guys so they can skip death, iron floats, fish deliver loose change and hundreds of other things that it is not my intention to remind us of, but you know them well. It also says women come from men and not men from women and I KNOW you don't believe least not literally.

Prophecies prove the accuracy of the Bible.

To Which we might add that both Ezekiel and Isaiah prophesied different fates for the City of Tyre and neither one of them came true and Tyre stands to this day. Prophecies about Egypt also failed to materialize and adjustments to reality are obvious in much of what Ezekiel writes about. The idea that many "prophecies" in Daniel are so accurate because they were written after the fact never crosses the readers mind and enrages the fundamentalist and apologist.

The Bible must be accurate because archaeology supports it.

To which we might add that archaeology also does not verify Biblical stories as well. No evidence has ever been found in the Sinai of millions of people having passed through specific places in the wilderness, not with ground nor satellite surveys. And many never think that real place names can be used to tell stories that are not literally true as well. The literally true place name does not make the story true. The Angel Moroni gave Joseph Smith the Gold Plates, now conveniently unavailable, to start the Mormon faith at Hill Comorah in NY. I have been to the literally real Smith farm in NY and grew up where this literally false story took place and on which millions of Mormons base their literal beliefs.

Bible's accuracy on other scientific points shows overall accuracy.

To which we can add that the Bible makes some very big blunders in scientific observation. The sun does not rise in the east nor really go down in the west as we know even though a modern apologist would insist that is only an explanation of an apparent truth just as we today know it is the earth that rotates. Well, the inspired Bible did not know that back then. To the bible characters, the earth was indeed flat. The "circle of the earth" was not a ball, it was their idea of a round plate 360 degrees around them, not a sphere. Its what they saw when they turned in a circle , not what they knew was beneath their feet. Satan could show Jesus all the Kingdoms of earth because the earth was flat and they could be "seen" from a "high mountain."

The 29,000 feet high Himalayas were not covered by flood waters and did exist a mere 4000 years ago no matter what apologetic geo-creationists come up with. That much water would drain no where and only penguins and polar bears would survive the adventure on the ark if they could breath.

The Bible is harmonious in it's presentation

To which we could say it absolutely is not. I challenge anyone to sit down with the Gospels and try to put together a coherent account of what happened at Jesus birth or death from the "harmony of the Gospels." If you think it will be easy, or can be done with the proper approach, you are kidding yourself. If you think you can explain why Jesus chased the money changers out of the temple at the beginning of his ministry in John but at the end of his ministry everywhere else, go ahead. You'd have to say he did it twice. If you think you can reconcile Luke's account of Paul's conversion in Acts, and Paul's account in Galatians, go for it. You won't the first nor come up with a satisfactory solution. Of course, some, who need the belief of inerrancy to be true will satisfy themselves but it still will not be true.

It is not my purpose to prove these points one way or the other. It is merely my point to show how these ideas are what hold a belief in place that perhaps is not, in fact, the truth of the matter. There are hundreds of sites dedicated to both the defense of the Bible as literally true and sites showing how this is not really the case. I happen to be of the "not really the case" persuasion after spending decades sincerely developing a belief that I thought was true and was found wanting...for me. In reality, I consider it neither my business nor responsibility to any longer convince anyone of anything they simply are neither willing to consider nor able to "see."
For me, the joy is in the search for meaning and, yes, I still want to know the truth as it really is. That path has never changed in me and it began when I was a very young and precocious kid.

... it's quite true that the best of the philosophers are of no use to their fellows; but that he should blame, not the philosophers, but those who fail to make use of them. (Plato, 380BC)

And isn't it a bad thing to be deceived about the truth, and a good thing to know what the truth is? For I assume that by knowing the truth you mean knowing things as they really are. (Plato)

A human being is part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. We experience ourselves, our thoughts and feelings as something separate from the rest. A kind of optical delusion of consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from the prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. The true value of a human being is determined by the measure and the sense in which they have obtained liberation from the self. We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if humanity is to survive. (Albert Einstein)

'... I have a right to ask for a rational explanation of religious faith.' (Cicero)

So, how's the journey going for you personally in looking for "the truth." Is it not like that 3D confused patterned art in which someone managed to place a beautiful picture if only one could see it . Some will insist there is only that one true and obvious confused picture and there is nothing more to understand about it. Some will catch a glimpse only to have it fade and never be able to see it again. Some will see past the pattern to the 3D picture that really really is there and be amazed they didn't see it before. And of course some will just get angry and stay mad that they can't see it and that you and I are idiots for thinking we do.

Never confuse mere belief in ideas for the truth of the matter....

This is a lifelong process and we are all here to learn.

Dennis Diehl

UCG Philippines Ministry Now Starting to Resign 1/8/2011

Friday, January 7, 2011

New COGaWA Locomotive Is Barreling Out of the Station!

January 7, 2011 – Today Feast Coordinators, camp directors and youth corps administrators met to consider the needs of the members of the Church of God, a Worldwide Association in these respective areas. While the number of members needing these services is still undetermined, potential Feast of Tabernacles sites, youth camps and international service projects were considered.

Yesterday several committees met to work on assignments. The interim governance committee chaired by Dave Baker met to refine three options it will present to the ministry on how to function until a permanent form of governance and leadership is selected.
The immediate administrative needs committee chaired by Dave Johnson also met on Thursday to work on the recommendations it will give to the interim leadership team that will be selected by the end of the conference. Of particular focus was the financial need of congregations, ministers and the organization.

The pre-conference leadership team also met yesterday and asked an international attendee, Andre Van Belkum of New Zealand, to give the closing address to the elders and guests on Tuesday.

As for yesterday's meeting of the long-term governance committee, Chairman Bruce Gore explained that the committee created a mission statement for itself and discussed the pros and cons of centralized and decentralized governance. This committee's job entails reviewing biblical guidelines for governance and recommending governance options to the elders. Although specifics have not been determined, consensus is building among members of the committee for recommending a centralized structure that will seek to be inclusive of members and minimize politics.

The mission statement of the long-term governance committee is: "Our mission is to recommend a structure founded upon biblical principles by which this new organization will be administered and to propose to the elders this structure for their consideration."

A Man Walks Into A Bar And Starts A New Church

No, this is not some UCG splinter church, even though they do love their alcohol.....

Read the article here: Star Tribune Article 
and here: Parliament of

"Father, thank you for this time we can share on Sunday morning with new friends," prayed Chris Fletcher, an emergency medical technician, part-time bartender and seminary student who has led this service every Sunday morning at Dunnigan's Pub & Grub since last summer. "We're getting to know you, and getting to know each other better."

Spending Sunday mornings in a bar sounds like an activity for those running from God. For this small group in a watering hole in Twin Harbors, about 160 miles northeast of Minneapolis, it's about chasing God. It's one unconventional place of worship around the country fostered by an evangelical movement known as "the emerging church."

"I feel closer to God here than I do at a conventional church," said Nelson, 56, a lifelong churchgoer who until recently could be found every Sunday morning in the pews at First Baptist Church nearby. "Jesus said we're supposed to be a light to the world. What better place to do that than at a bar?"

After the opening prayer, Fletcher read a brief passage from the Bible before opening the floor to a group discussion. Gene Shank, a 68-year-old retired police officer making his first visit after reading a notice Fletcher put in the local newspaper, confessed to a bit of discomfort.

"I'm a reality person, and I'm finding a little too much established religion here to be honest," Shank said. "I believe, I pray — but I don't like structured religion."

Fletcher responded that, while he wants to be as informal as possible, the main goal is still "creating an open space for Jesus to come into our lives, then he does the transforming work."

He quickly adds that anyone who questions the way he's running the service has come to the right place.
"We're all messed up," he said. "We're all screwed up some way."

Fletcher, a stocky, balding 43-year-old with a bristly goatee, is his own first example. The native of Sudbury, Ontario, grew up in the Worldwide Church of God, a small evangelical sect he described as "almost cult-like." He left religion behind as a young man, but was drawn back as he was hitting 40 and experiencing a series of personal crises: the death of a close friend in an auto accident and the dissolution of his marriage.

Mammas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Pastors

I Know you Are, But What Am I?---No one is ever WRONG

I have met a lot of people who are never wrong. They never take back that which they spoke which proved to be either stupid, inane or simply wrong. They waffle, redefine and deny, but they are never wrong. These people are incapable of saying "oops," much less, "I'm sorry," You find them everywhere. They might be a pastor, a politician, a CEO or a President. They might be your mother- in-law, father-in-law, dad, mom, brother or sister. Of course, it could be you, but you won't notice that. One common thing they share is that they are NEVER wrong. Of course they are wrong, misinformed or just plain stupid in the way they view and filter their world, but they are never wrong in fact. Their inability to say "I am sorry," or "I was wrong," is legendary in the family, the church, the office or the government and the damage inflicted on those that fall victim of these people can be humorous, mildly annoying or catastrophic.

Politicians who call people names and then say they didn't, or knew it was an insult but claim being oblivious to the fact, are this kind of which I speak. Men who can't come up with anything better to say than "she's ugly" and then waffle around trying to come up with another reason as to why they say such stupid things fit the bill too. "Im sorry, I was rude and wrong," will do just fine. After years of being told we are going to "stay the course," we now are being told that never meant this or that when it did as it was thrown back in the faces of those that asked about rethinking the course.

The average American is not stupid when they hear the answers given to questions by those that really don't want to give the answer. We even mostly know the answer before we ask the question and we certainly can tell when the answer given is not the real answer. How many "oops, sorry about that," have we heard after these great observations and declarations? How many White House press briefings can you listen to before you realize either, "the guy is lying," waffeling or they must think we are absolutely brain dead and stupid.

Let's have some fun seeing where "I'm sorry, I was mistaken," never seems to reveal it's graceful presence.

"Now that the combat phase of the war in Iraq is officially over, what begins is a debate throughout the entire U.S. government over America's unrivaled power and how best to use it."
(CBS reporter Joie Chen, 5/4/03)

"Congress returns to Washington this week to a world very different from the one members left two weeks ago. The war in Iraq is essentially over and domestic issues are regaining attention."
(NPR's Bob Edwards, 4/28/03)

"Tommy Franks and the coalition forces have demonstrated the old axiom that boldness on the battlefield produces swift and relatively bloodless victory. The three-week swing through Iraq has utterly shattered skeptics' complaints."
(Fox News Channel's Tony Snow, 4/27/03) I think we can see why Tony may have gotten the job White Press Secretary...

"The only people who think this wasn't a victory are Upper Westside liberals, and a few people here in Washington."
(Charles Krauthammer, Inside Washington, WUSA-TV, 4/19/03)

"The war was the hard part. The hard part was putting together a coalition, getting 300,000 troops over there and all their equipment and winning. And it gets easier. I mean, setting up a democracy is hard, but it is not as hard as winning a war."
(Fox News Channel's Fred Barnes, 4/10/03)

"The war winds down, politics heats up.... Picture perfect. Part Spider-Man, part Tom Cruise, part Ronald Reagan. The president seizes the moment on an aircraft carrier in the Pacific."
(PBS's Gwen Ifill, 5/2/03, on George W. Bush's "Mission Accomplished" speech)

"We're proud of our president. Americans love having a guy as president, a guy who has a little swagger, who's physical, who's not a complicated guy like Clinton or even like Dukakis or Mondale, all those guys, McGovern. They want a guy who's president. Women like a guy who's president. Check it out. The women like this war. I think we like having a hero as our president. It's simple. We're not like the Brits."
(MSNBC's Chris Matthews, 5/1/03)

"If image is everything, how can the Democratic presidential hopefuls compete with a president fresh from a war victory?"
(CNN's Judy Woodruff, 5/5/03)

"It is amazing how thorough the victory in Iraq really was in the broadest context..... And the silence, I think, is that it's clear that nobody can do anything about it. There isn't anybody who can stop him. The Democrats can't oppose--cannot oppose him politically."
(Washington Post reporter Jeff Birnbaum-- Fox News Channel, 5/2/03)

Often those who find it difficult to say "I was wrong," or "I am sorry," are very quick to accuse everyone else of that inability, only to later have to eat the proverbially crow, though it still always tastes like steak to them.

"I'm waiting to hear the words 'I was wrong' from some of the world's most elite journalists, politicians and Hollywood types.... I just wonder, who's going to be the first elitist to show the character to say: 'Hey, America, guess what? I was wrong'? Maybe the White House will get an apology, first, from the New York Times' Maureen Dowd. Now, Ms. Dowd mocked the morality of this war....

"Do you all remember Scott Ritter, you know, the former chief U.N. weapons inspector who played chief stooge for Saddam Hussein? Well, Mr. Ritter actually told a French radio network that -- quote, "The United States is going to leave Baghdad with its tail between its legs, defeated." Sorry, Scott. I think you've been chasing the wrong tail, again."

And we're waiting to hear a few words of apology from a few people as well... It's always good for those given to high fiveing themselves before the time to think before they speak and remember that labeling people for their caution, disagreements, observations, intuitive and gut feelings about that which no one else seems to be thinking about, can come back to haunt them. Too much enthusiasm for "see, see, we're right, you're wrong," and all the backbiting that goes along with it has a way of showing up again to challenge the braggarts. We all have done it and we all do it, but when the stakes are as high as they are these days for all of us, the inability to say, "I am sorry," I was wrong," or "I made a mistake," is no statesman like quality. It can lead to everything from economic disaster to death, and it was not necessary.

"Over the next couple of weeks when we find the chemical weapons this guy was amassing, the fact that this war was attacked by the left and so the right was so vindicated, I think, really means that the left is going to have to hang its head for three or four more years."
(Fox News Channel's Dick Morris, 4/9/03)

"This has been a tough war for commentators on the American left. To hope for defeat meant cheering for Saddam Hussein. To hope for victory meant cheering for President Bush. The toppling of Mr. Hussein, or at least a statue of him, has made their arguments even harder to defend. Liberal writers for ideologically driven magazines like The Nation and for less overtly political ones like The New Yorker did not predict a defeat, but the terrible consequences many warned of have not happened. Now liberal commentators must address the victory at hand and confront an ascendant conservative juggernaut that asserts United States might can set the world right."
(New York Times reporter David Carr, 4/16/03)

"Well, the hot story of the week is victory.... The Tommy Franks-Don Rumsfeld battle plan, war plan, worked brilliantly, a three-week war with mercifully few American deaths or Iraqi civilian deaths.... There is a lot of work yet to do, but all the naysayers have been humiliated so far.... The final word on this is, hooray."
(Fox News Channel's Morton Kondracke, 4/12/03)
Oops...Can we all give a collective Homer Simpson " Doh!".

"This will be no war -- there will be a fairly brief and ruthless military intervention.... The president will give an order. [The attack] will be rapid, accurate and dazzling.... It will be greeted by the majority of the Iraqi people as an emancipation. And I say, bring it on."
(Christopher Hitchens, in a 1/28/03 debate-- cited in the Observer,

I'm sure some of these commentators have since admitted to having been a bit prematurely enthusiastic for that which, to date, has proven to be one the biggest miscalculations in American history. The "V" word has even been spoken by the man who we may have hoped had learned something from his generations experience with Vietnam. Of course most of us are not privy to other agendas besides spreading freedom around the world.

Ministers are not above the inability to say I am sorry or I was wrong either. I pastored in a denomination that was never wrong from the top down, but always wrong from the bottom up. Come to think of it, that sounds like the government too at the moment or maybe all moments. Countless, and I mean countless ministers have predicted the exact time that Jesus would return and have been wrong, oh let's say...100% of the time.

Whole denominations have mislead the faithful on a myriad of topics but to say "We're sorry, we were wrong," is just not something even the humble in Jesus can come up with very often. Saying one is sorry is usually something that occurs only after one is caught or trapped. It's has taken over 400 years to absolve the then heretic Galileo from thinking the earth revolved around the sun and that the sun, not the earth, was the center of the solar system, but maybe not the universe. Churches hold on to their fables and apologies way beyond what most normal institutions do. How long will it take to apologize when Church officials decide that Limbo is not the place where the unsaved babies go, like they know, when they announce this reality to the faithful? You can bet you will hear things like, "It was never a doctrine," or "It never was an official teaching," but you won't get away with that kind of "we're sorry," with the average person who was either tormented or only mildly comforted by this when they lost a child prior to the arrival of the sprinklers. Too many ministers have the subconscious belief that if they are wrong, God will correct them and, of course, any apologies or admissions of wrongness will be spoke privately to the deity. They will, however, announce to you that they have done this, but you will never really know. Ministers need to apologize to people for it is people they offend at times.

Some of us can't say we are sorry or we were wrong because we falsely believe that somehow it a weakness to admit such things. More than one psychologist has noted that "Fool me once..shame,," is not so much a gaff as the deeply psychological inability to say "shame on me," which is another way of not being able to admit to being wrong or a committing a misstep. To choke on the words expressing shame, sorrow, apology or being mistaken is not a good sign when we are talking about mature leadership. To come across as anything less than human is not going to win points with the not as stupid as one might think average church goer or American.
We lie when we can't admit we are wrong, mistaken or perhaps have another agenda that we do not wish disturbed. I think Americans are beginning to believe that this last reason is more the case with Iraq and perhaps Iran. Even church goers are beginning to question the motives of those that demand too much of their money for the Lord and remind you that you can be "dismembered" when you ask uncomfortable questions about doctrine or the Bible itself. "Just trust me," is no longer going to work among the informed. Lie Snickers, the Internet is a gift from God Himself.

We live in a time where Presidents, Politicians and Pastors who have the inability to say that they have been misguided, unguided, mistaken and plainly wrong is endangering not only our intellectual health, but our lives on the planet. Suck it up guys. Just say it when it dawns on you. Allow it to dawn on you from time to time. "I was wrong, I am sorry."

When was the last time you heard your executive, judicial, senatorial, congressional or pastoral leaders say "I was wrong," "We were wrong," "I am sorry"? From "I did not have sex with that woman," to "those weapons of mass destruction must be around here somewhere," just saying "I'm sorry," seems the hardest thing to do. Give it a try anyway before you kill us all.

Dennis Diehl

Today's UCG Resignations 1/7/2011

Resignations from the ministry of UCG seem to be slowing down at the moment.  Many think it is that more are waiting to see what decisions are made at the COGaWA conference that is happening this weekend. 

Depending on how it structures it's self, and how it responds to UCG HQ's backtracking on the Sabbath issue there will certainly be same heated discussions this weekend. 

Unfortunately there are probably too many burned bridges for many of these men to go back to UCG now.  Frank's certainly would not have a place waiting for him.  Because of that many expect COGaWA to certify it's self as a legitimate COG ministry and start pulling members from UCG. 

Many members of UCG are also sitting on the fence waiting to see what happens in the meetings.  More fun times are certainly ahead!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Secret Video of South African Elder Confronting Melvin Rhodes

Today's UCG Resignations 1/5/2011

All of these guys are from the Houston South church.  
A UCG church known for it's uppity arrogance

South African Elders Tell UCG Where To Stick It!

Tuesday 4 Jan 2011 6:15am

Hello Mr Rhodes,

The 4 elders in South Africa note that on the UCG Home website our names have been removed as contacts for the 4 congregations we serve, and your name appears instead. This has been done without any reference to us, or any accusation being brought against us. We note also that the usual monthly subsidy from the Home Office for South Africa has been withheld with no explanation in spite of emails having been sent to Gerald Seelig and Aaron Dean. The obvious studied silence and intended discourtesy towards us is noted.

You certainly are able to remove our names from the GCE list in the Home Office (which we take as the obvious implication) but you have no authority to remove us as elders or members of the United Church of God, Southern Africa, which is a registered South African corporation completely separate to UCG aIA. Also, we are all members of the South African National Council (SANATCO) and can only be removed if we choose to resign (which we don't intend to) or by a majority decision of SANATCO. Also, the removal of any us from the GCE only becomes reality in South Africa after it is reported to an official meeting of SANATCO and has been approved there by a majority decision. Additionally we fall under South African Labour Laws, with special reference to the clearly enumerated steps in dealing with disputes and terminations.

Following on the foregoing, we will be informing all members of UCG, Southern Africa, of your visit, and that we will be holding services as usual on 8 January and 15 January in our usual 4 cities and venues, but under the auspices of UCG, Southern Africa. , and that those wishing to attend on those dates with you and Vic under the auspices of UCG, aIA, are free to do so and should contact you or your South African organizer for alternative venues and times in the cities concerned.



The love letter from Melvin that sparked it all:

"Dear Morgen, Neville and Neil,
Victor Kubik and I will be visiting South Africa over the next two weekends.
Travel and accommodation have already been arranged.
I will be in Johannesburg for the church service this week and Vic will be in Durban.
The following Sabbath we will be in Cape Town and East London.
We will see you then."

UCG Sells Out to COGaWA Pressure and Reverses Sabbath Paper

UCG honchos in Cincinnati watching their church blow up in their faces and disintegrate to nothing changed their stance on the Sabbath controversy in a blatantly political move.  With close to 160 some ministers and elders jumping ship to Jim Frank's new splinter cult, UCG was set to loose thousands of more members when the Church of God a Worldwide Association holds it's conference in the next week.

In the same hypocritical backstabbing and lying  that went on when UCG split from WCG, COGaWA had the upper hand.  It was the conservatives vs the liberals all over again. The deciding factor on both sides was money.  The COGaWA's had to form a new splinter cult in order to receive income once UCG terminated them.  UCG had to do whatever it took to maintain a steady flow of income into their HQ to maintain their salaries.

Both sides now will continue to keep the members of UCG/COGaWA in bondage to a day no longer required under the New Covenant.  Both sides will continue to rule over and abuse their members with legalistic bullshit.  Neither side has the balls to really sit down and examine Sabbath keeping without using HWA's writings or other COGlet materials spread out in front of them.  But we should never expect such in depth study since COGdoom is intellectually and theologically bankrupt.

So the sheep still continue to suffer because they won't examine things either.  If HWA or a minister said it, so let it be done.

UCG statement:

January 4, 2011

After studying the material that has been provided from a couple in Chile, the Council of Elders, after full review and rendering due diligence, is prepared to issue the following statement in regards to observing the Seventh-day Sabbath and Holy Days in a proper manner to uphold the Fourth Commandment.
The United Church of God, an International Association, has a long-standing teaching on the subject of owner-operated businesses in relation to the observance of the Sabbath and biblical Holy Days. If a business is solely or majority owned by a Church member, then the business should close on the Sabbath and the Holy Days.
There are some exceptions, as Jesus Christ gave Sabbath-keeping principles in Scripture in this regard, which would apply to healthcare and retirement facilities and dealing with dairies and farm animals. But, day-care centers and schools do not fall under these categories. Therefore, the Council of Elders stands by the authority of Scripture in our lives and the consistent position of the Church which requires that such businesses, as long as they are solely or majority owned by a Church member, be closed on the Sabbath and the Holy Days.
We deeply appreciate the sincere request of the members in Chile in asking for the Council of Elders to render a judgment.
Melvin Rhodes—Chairman, on behalf of the Council of Elders

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

A Messianic Jew Looks at Armstrongism

I received a link a while back from a Messianic Jew who seems to have had a lot of contact with various splinter cult ministurds of Armstrongism--or at least knows a lot about how they operate.
Unfortunately she stills seems to think there was good teachings in some of Armstrongism.

Traits of Cults
Some of her comments were:

Many cults have started with "good" intentions, but with human nature and
Satan at the bottom of them; they usually deteriorate very quickly.

For instance many religionists did start out with high ideals, until the
money started rolling in
"A few of the traits of the cultleaders"
Most cult leaders are people that have inferiority complexes, some of
them, but not all of them being of short stature.

It is interesting to note that almost all the various splinter cults of Armstrongism (including Herb himself) were/are lead by short, over-compensating tyrannical men.

Many of them have come from low backgrounds; with very unloving Fathers,
three dictators that I can recall, were beaten unmercifully by their
fathers... Adolf Hitler, Josef Stalin and Saddam Hussein.

They didn't receive mercy, so they never learned mercy.

Many cult leaders are very intelligent and have a gift for speaking,
unfortunately, most of them do not have a great proclivity for telling
the truth, except when it is to their benefit.

Most cult leaders learn very early, that they are very convincing to
people (Mainly gullible people), so therefore these "leaders" think that
they have found their calling.

The people that they prey on, are usually the old, the weak, the lonely,
the gullible and the mentally unstable, but another group that they prey
upon, is those that have money.
Many Cult Leaders have a "Messianic Complex", and now that they have
followers, they really start believing that they are God's "prophet or
messenger", then they start deluding themselves.

If anyone or anybody affronts them in any way, then they get paranoid,
and they set up an enforcing arm, usually other deluded people; most of
them inherently violent; to police their great "kingdom"

One of the last things these " false messiahs" do, is completely isolate
their followers, and set up spy networks, and if there is any hint that
their converts are trying to "desert", then they get them and even
threaten them with "Hellfire", ex-communication ( hell) or even bodily

When the cult followers are completely isolated, then they are nominally,
or literally held prisoner.
The Unproved "Petra" doctrine was a way WCG could hold people nominally
captive, by threatening, that they would not get to go there, if they got
out of line.

This doctrine will probably be used against the brethren again, by some
of the COG leaders; at least to get the people's money.
This happens very often in churches, it has even happened in some of the
Churches of God.

There was all kinds of duplicty, there were sexual scandals; money
scandals; varience; power struggles; harangues; false prophecies; spy
networks and every other kind of problem.
Right now, some of these cult leaders have gotten hold on some of God's
people, Gerald Flurry is one of them; he follows most of the classic
traits of having a messianic complex.

He has his Scapegoat (The Laodiceans), and he is into the isolating the
members from everybody else.

David Hulme and Ron Weinland are several of the others, who are trying to
isolate their members (tithe paying dupes) from the other commandment
keeping brethren; and they do this for control, mainly of the tithes;
this though is completely opposite to Christ's outgoing service to all.

Did One UCG Minister Forsee the Current Debacle 15 Years Ago?

From a Yahoo board:

When UCGaia was created there was one individual, unknown by me, who knew about
the potential for "fractions and factions" to occur. How do we know that?

For what it is worth, there was a special memo written by a concerned minister
regarding his "Hopes for Indianapolis." That memo, which follows, was read to
all in attendance on the last day of the Indianapolis Conference, May 2, 1995,
by Victor Kubik, to all of us there.
CAN IT EVER BE? That cohesive, Christ-led entity that we all want so dearly?
Or does Indy seal our fate to fractions and factions? The hopes are high, the
stakes are critical. Indy will be either a dawning of a New World Tomorrow, or
the proof of our folly.

PIE IN THE SKY is what the detractors say. Some of them are us, you know.
Our "leaders" have already laid foundations and are even laying superstructure.
The meek words of just a few weeks ago... "We've just started this in case it's
of any help, but we'll gladly dissolve it" are seemingly replaced with corporate
structures lauding the wisdom of "follow me." Has "unity" already slipped to a
cliché, a buzzword of egotists? I've seen that once people invest time, money
and gain supporters they "have God's blessing." After all, they prayed about

Dissolution of their structure for a greater cause becomes too great a defeat.
The show must go on.

WHAT IS INDY? It's a chance for a ground up, New Testament organized body of

WHAT WILL INDY BE? I know what you and I want it to be. But do you know what
many see it as? Separate leaders of several pre-formed groups pushing their
system at each other, followed by the winner selling it to the ministry. The
ministry is invited to view the outcome and cast in their lot, depending on who
"wins" and if they like the smell of it.

WHO LOSES IF INDY FALTERS? The churches back home. The little flocks who are
staking their faith in Indy. The loyal pastors who have forfeited everything to
wait on Christ and to come learn His will for their next step. I hope He's
there. He resists the proud and gives grace to the humble.

Just some concerns and fears ... I don't know what it WILL be, I know what it
MIGHT be and what it CAN be. I'll be there in support. Be careful who gets
control. Make sure it's God.

Today's UCG Resignations 1/4/2011

Monday, January 3, 2011

"Sometimes in life there is NOTHING left to do but have a good laugh (or cry)."

I have watched, listened and participated in the WCG/COG perspectives since I was 14 years old.  I was a minister for 26 of those years. I am now 60.  Life seems to last only about 15 minutes which I did not know when 14.  And while I am more known for my writings on topics on abusive religion, ministers and churches, or taking another look at the real origins of anything from the Bible to human origins, my heart goes out to all of you as you watch your organization implode, once again.
Life will give you whatever experience is most helpful for the evolution of your consciousness. How do you know this is the experience you need? Because this is the experience you are having at this moment.
Always say “yes” to the present moment. What could be more futile, more insane, than to create inner resistance to what already is? what could be more insane than to oppose life itself, which is now and always now? Surrender to what is. Say “yes” to life — and see how life suddenly starts working for you rather than against you."
Eckhart Tolle

I knew the vast majority of the full time ministers in all the COG's when they were just kids. You know, the "wasn't that just 15 minutes ago?" thing.  We had a lot of fun together not knowing what the future would have in store for all of us who went into the ministry, sincerely and with great hope of being in the right place, teaching and believing the right things, the right way in the right Church.  Phew....what a ride. A few of them, mostly those who are now their own one man show, seem to show signs of mental and personality disorders that can more easily hidden in a ministry as quirkiness and narcissism in religion looks more like sincerity and how most of the characters in the Bible acted.  Don't be fooled. It's still a personality disorder by modern standards and some, perhaps don't need more followers but rather medication.

 I see these kids and friends, now old or at least older and think, "If I only knew then what I know now."  But that's not how it works.  We say that experience is the best teacher but the tuition is high.  Let me tell you, experience is the ONLY teacher and the rest is all hearsay.  

"We're all here to learn."
"Welcome to Earth School"

Since being terminated 12 years ago, ( I wanted to be but didn't know how to leave my congregation of wonderful friends behind or even what to do with my life now), I have had to face many things. I have made mistakes in processing the experience. It brought me anxiety, repressed anger which leads to depression and a boatload of doubt and "what's next?"  I stomped my feet in ways that didn't help and was divorced.  I have made a few but lost most friends.  Since sarcasm is anger turned sideways, I wrote sarcastically to put a sharp edge on my experiences and new perspectives.  I have learned that most depression is anger that you feel you have no right to express, (a common feeling with ministers towards HQ) or that doing so will exact a price too high to pay. (also a proven truth )

 You will go through the same things because what is happening is no small thing.
"If you understand, then things are as they are.  If you don't understand..then things are as they are."

Perhaps a little advice based on experience of loss and dis-illusionment.  Actually disillusionment is a good thing for why would we want to have illusions...?

First of all...Breathe.   You can't fix it all and you won't solve it all.  All you can do is be yourself and follow the path you feel you have to be on.  See where it goes.  

Secondly...Step outside the box of having just one source, leader, group, organization, minister or ideas about how it all is.  There are bigger boxes of truth and reality than those defined by the COG's or any religion.  They are mere sign posts along the way but a sign post is not the same as the destination.  It just points the direction and sometimes they get pointed in the wrong direction by pranksters.

Thirdly...Don't read your Bible too much. You'll never be able to process this doing that.  Everyone does that so no one can find a reason to drop their guard, share the experience as it really is and give each other a really big hug.  It divides.  As I have noted, the COG's add to themselves by subtraction and multiply by division.  I would encourage the COG administrations, boards, councils and humans to have a big meeting, not just for those that agree with them but for everyone.  Just be there and start with a big hug.  Let your tears flow and keep looking each other in the eye until you realize one of Buddhisms great observations...(The narcissists and those with genuine personality disorders will not be able to do this so don't expect it.)

"Sometimes in life there is NOTHING left to do but have a good laugh."
(or cry)

I'm not really here to give advice, just observations of what, to me that journey from age 14 to 60 so far has taught me.  Some would say I have learned nothing, but they are very very wrong.  I would love to speak to those who have had their hearts and hopes handed to them over the years in a paper bag with a pat on the head and a hearty "be warmed and be filled, we'll be praying for you."  They aren't.  They just say that.  I miss teaching and speaking what seems to me to be a better form of "the truth."  

I'd also like to say, that in my experience, Denny Luker is probably one of the most  sincere and kind humans beings I have ever me.   I know he is not sleeping.  If he reads this...Denny, don't put the ice cream in the cupboard to hid it from your wife when she caught you pacing the kitchen when WCG was imploding..  :)  I remember the details of your last round of this!

 I KNOW he has no idea where and how this all has come from and what the hell has happened.  We were great friends at one time and are not at this point only due to time and distance.  I would however love to have a chat with him about letting people be themselves and that "we all need to speak the same thing," is neither true nor possible.  Where two are three are gathered together, in reality, we have two or three different ways of filtering our world, life and experiences.  And it's ok....

My heart is with you though I don't believe as I once did.  My heart is with most pastors who were friends and probably can't eat very well, sleep very well and wonder what's going to happen to them personally as this unfolds.  They are losing their friends and having great anxiety or not depending.  I don't miss it.  But I do understand it.   My heart is with the member who agonizes over why church has to be so hard and drama ridden.  Their are reasons, but I'll save that for another time. 

In my opinion, this is the overall problem we all face  in this life of thinking we have to find the one true church, truth, doctrine, interpretation and reality amongst all of the chaff.  In real church history, there never was one true church. Before the body of Jesus cooled, the struggle over who understood it all had divided up nicely and would only get worse.  I won't show you the proof in this letter, but Peter really hated Paul and Paul really disliked Peter, James and John.  He called them "reputed pillars" and then bragged he learned "nothing from them..."  wow!  Luke made fun of Peter, as did John who thought that denying and betraying were the same. He always refers to Peter along side a comment about Judas. There was a reason for that.  There is truly nothing new under the sun of pastoral/member relations.

"Identification with your mind creates an opaque screen of concepts, labels, images, words, judgments, and definitions that blocks all true relationship. It comes between you and yourself, between you and your fellow man and woman, between you and nature, between you and God. It is this screen of thought that creates the illusion of separateness, the illusion that there is you and a totally separate "other." You then forget the essential fact that, underneath the level of physical appearances and separate forms, you are one with all that is."


HWA and His British Israelism Not Looked Upon Too Kindly By Canadians

Idiot Camping making fool of himself -- and victims of his followers

It never ceases to amaze me the number of preachers out there in television boobdom, who keep saying we must "trust our Bible" when it says the world's coming to an end any time now -- when those readers really mean we should only trust their interpretation of the Bible.

Case in point:  Harold Camping.   I don't know what to say about this guy.   Last we heard from him, he set a date for the end of the world as September 6, 1994.   Remember all of his "followers" who were weeping when it was business as usual, wailing "God lied to us"?   Actually of course, it was Camping who was the liar, not God.

Now Camping has set a new date -- October 21, 2011, to be preceded by the so-called "Rapture" five months earlier in May.

Riiiiiight.  And "Preparation H ™ does feel good, on the (w)hole."

Simple rule folks:   If someone says they know when the end will come, they are lying.   How do we know?  Because Jesus said so.   Someone like Hal Lindsey, Harold Camping, any of a number of Word of Faith preachers -- just fill in the blank.

And don't get me started on the self-proclaimed successors to Herbert W. Armstrong and their continued promotion of British Israelism (READ:  White Identity).   I'm not talking about their love for apartheid and other forms of racial segregation.   I'm talking about how much they hate their fellow whites.  How anyone can seriously believe that Germans are genetically disposed to evil because they are descendants of the Assyrians (Mesopotamians or what we now call Iraqis) is really beyond me.  Especially when genetic science has proven this wrong as much as the alleged "link" between Caucasians and Semites.   Key of David, my ass.

About Camping's only redeeming quality appears to be -- far as I have been able to find out -- he eschews such blatant racism.  For now anyway.   Mark my words, folks:   Come Hallow-e'en and Camping will deny he ever made a prediction about the End of Days.   Or he'll blame it on God.   Trying blaming it on Satan, pal -- because that's who you're really talking to.

Next Genocide Under Way? Christians in Arab Countries Beign Murdered

Degenerate filth yelling Allah Akbar as Christians lie dying.

(AINA)- The car explosion that went off in front of Saints Coptic Orthodox Church in Alexandria killed 21 and injured 96 parishioners who were attending a New Year’s Eve Mass. According to church officials and eyewitnesses, there are many more victims that are still unidentified and whose body parts were strewn all over the street outside the church.
The body parts were covered with newspapers until they were brought inside the church after some Muslims started stepping on them and chanting Jihadi chants (video showing dead bodies and limbs covered with newspapers in the street).
According to eyewitnesses, a green Skoda car pulled up outside the church shortly after midnight. Two men got out, one of them talked shortly on his mobile phone, and the explosion occurred almost immediately after they left the scene. On the back of the Skoda was a sticker with the words “the rest is coming.”
Eyewitnesses confirmed that security forces guarding the church withdrew nearly one hour before the blast, leaving only four policemen and an officer to guard such a big church and nearly 2000 people attending the midnight mass. “Normally they would have waited until the mass was over,” said el-Gezeiry. He also commented on the Muslim’s schadenfreude at the massacre at the church, who were heard chanting “Allah Akbar.”
“Is this a victory?” He asks. “Whoever saw this fire and people dying and body parts all over the place and could still chant ‘Allah Akbar’ is a terrorist.”

As the pathetic Western world leaders stand by and do nothing.

(CBS News)- Extremist groups are waging a “genocide” against Christians in the Middle East, a former Lebanese president said Monday, after a New Year’s suicide bombing of a church in Egypt killed 21 people.
Amin Gemayel, a Christian who served a six-year term as president in the 1980s, cited the attack in Egypt and recent violence in Iraq as he urged leaders to give Christian communities a larger political role.
“Massacres are taking place for no reason and without any justification against Christians. It is only because they are Christians,” said Gemayel, who leads Lebanon’s right-wing Christian Phalange party.
“What is happening to Christians is a genocide,” he said.
Lebanon, which experienced a ruinous 15-year civil war, in part between Muslims and Christians, that left about 150,000 dead, is deeply divided along sectarian lines. Christians make up about 40 percent of Lebanon’s 4 million people and the country is the only Arab nation with a Christian head of state.
The Phalange party, which was founded in 1936 by Gemayel’s father, Pierre, fought heavily on the Christian side during Lebanon’s 1975-90 civil war. Weasel Zippers

The bloodbath continues while we stand by and do nothing, an eternal blight on America’s soul.
(RTTNews) - A survivor of the Christian church massacre in Iraq two months ago was killed in the continuing spree of violence targeting the community in the country.
A Christian woman in the Karrada district of central Baghdad was shot to death at dawn on Monday while she was asleep, reports quoting Iraq’s interior ministry said.
The assailants also robbed Rafah Butros Toma, who lived alone in Al-Wahda neighborhood, of her possessions.
She was a witness to the massacre of worshipers in a failed rescue operation by Iraqi security forces in a Catholic church in central Baghdad on October 31.

More UCG Resignations 1/3/2011

UCG Crisis: Is This Really A Fight Between the Tkach Men and the HWA Men?

Interesting comments on the Shining Light blog today about the UCG crisis:

BACKGROUND TO THE FRANKS LETTER:  At the Dec 15th meeting between the two sides, Dennis Luker gave permission for the dissident meeting to go ahead for the purpose of  implimenting an amicable split.   Jim Franks was not present at this meeting between the two sides and had personally denied any association with the dissident group. 
This flow of events in no way absolves the dissident faction from working to split United, it only helps to explain the Franks letter; and the subsequent events.  In fact, BOTH sides have been working to split UCG for a very long time.

On Dec 7-8th Jim Franks resigned from the Council.   On Dec 15th a meeting was held between representatives of both sides and it was agreed to split amicably with Dennis Luker giving prmission for a meeting of the dissidents. Jim Franks was NOT present at that meeting and had denied any connection with the dissident camp. On Dec 17  Jim sent the email published earlier, showing his involvement in spite of his earlier denials. On Dec 19 the meeting of dissident leaders was held to make important decisions.  On Dec 21 Jim Franks resigned.  On Dec 23 the United Real Time letter was posted and the mass resignations began.

Certain people on this Council  were Joe Tkach men all along and were firing those who objected to the Joe T teachings right up until they jumped ship at the last hour to infiltrate the new organization being formed in 95-96.  This resulted in intense infighting within UCG from the very beginning. Fighting between the Joe T style men and the HWA style men.

Some of those who have resigned from UCG and are joining the new COGaWA are also in this group of Tkach types and are moving to infiltrate the new group.

This split was preordained from the very beginning; and now it has arrived.  Those who want an HWA style church [as evidenced by the choice of name] are leaving; the Joe T style men remain.

Those who want an HWA style of autocratic leadership are using the emotions involving LA and calls for “Servant Guide Leadership” to attract supporters.  In fact, the HWA style had absolutely nothing to do with “Servant Guide Leadership” and everything to do with maintaining a ministerial caste system over the people.  Those well meaning folks, taken in by the pleasant words will quickly find this out.

I am speaking of those in leadership roles and not of the overall elders or brethren here.  I do know that several elders who were actively disfellowshipping those who disageed with Joe T have resigned from UCG and joined the new COGaWA.  I am writing in broad generalities and I do understand that there are exceptions on  both sides. 

Both sides are wrong!  One side is using many people’s respect for a man to establish themselves  in dictatorial power and authority; with the only doctrine truly vital to themselves: HWA’s take on GOVERNMENT. The other side is diluting the practical application of its doctrines, even more rapidly than the first side; until the people will agree to finally changing them in writing.

The Joe T folks who now control the Council continually say that they are not, and have no intention of changing doctrine.  Yet in practice both sides have already sidelined much doctrine.  The Happy New Years on facebook, the willingness to associate with paganism and participate in Christmas and other pagan festivals with the excuse of attending extended family reunions, the emphasis on grace and love to the exclusion of the Father and the practical definition of love as the keeping of God’s commandments; are clear trends toward the kind of Charismatic Evangelical nonsense that Joe led the WCG into.

Michael Machin Resignation Letter to Roy Holladay: "WHO IS BEING HONEST?"

December 27, 2010

Dear Mr. Holladay,

Your letter to me dated December 21, 2010 states, “As a result of your recent actions the honest thing for you to do is to resign as an Elder and member of the General Conference of Elders of the United Church of God.”

I appreciate your bringing up the important and much discussed word “HONEST”. I have honestly attempted to assist scores of other ministers solve the divide and conflict in UCG. This resembles the tragedy of a house on fire. In this case the house is the UCG which caught fire a few years ago and since then many firemen (ministers and other concerned members) have tried to have access to extinguish the flames and save our family and home. Those in control have refused to allow them in, calling them “rebellious”, “divisive” and “power hungry”. The most polite name we’ve been called is “uninformed”. None of those names apply to any of the concerned men that I know. WHO IS BEING HONEST?

In a letter dated December 24, 2010 Mr. Victor Kubik requests that I not be allowed to speak in a UCG church service. Quote, “He is an officer in a competing church that will be drawing members from UCG.” I would think everyone in leadership would be concerned for the family members fleeing the burning house. Leadership has been beseeched over and over again to let the firefighters in and by no means has every attempt been made public. We did not cause the fire but we do hear the cries for help from inside the house.

It is insulting when the word “COMPETING” is used in talking about the brethren. No one should be COMPETING for the members. They are not a BUSINESS and it is telling that Church leadership would look at them that way! They have the same Father in heaven and the same relations with God any other called out one has. Surely you have noticed a great many members are not waiting on the ministry-AKA firefighters. They are mature and dedicated to God and are fleeing the burning house without assistance. Mr. Luker says over and over there are dear and precious members in other houses and he loves them all. And so he should. Why would someone call it competing to build a home for those escaping a burning house when the doorkeepers themselves won’t allow the firemen access?

It is also stated in your letter that I have violated Biblical standards, the Code of Ethics for the ministry and the criteria for an elder to be in good standing in the United Church of God. Have we really fallen to this low point? I was even copied on the Criteria for an elder to be in good standing for my information. God’s Word was always to be above the By Laws and Constitution. I am sure glad Phinehas didn’t wait till he got the “all’s clear” from those above him before he acted on behalf of the Children of Israel and stopped the plague that had already killed 24,000. How many more casualties must we be responsible for?
I have no choice but to resign. The UCG is being destroyed. Many are looking for a new house that needs builders and I am honored to be among the ministers and members who are setting their hands to this work, His Work.

I look forward to the day we will work together unified with God, the Father and Jesus Christ.


Michael Machin

UCG Minister Chris Moen Resignation Letter


Dear Brethren of Mansfield and Canton congregations, 

In October, 2010 I began researching both sides of the arguments regarding the current crisis of the United Church of God leadership. On December 4th, 2010 I was one of 57 elders who signed an appeal letter to the President, Mr. Luker, in hopes to preserve our UCG church organization intact without a separation.
The appeal letter stated this position: “We have supported the governmental system agreed upon in 1995 and this letter is a confirmation of working within that system. Our deepest hope is the complete healing and the effective continuation of the UCG.”

The appeal letter stated this goal: “The workable—and what we believe is biblical—pathway to proper functioning as a church… is an open…face-to-face meeting between current and past leaders of the organization for the purpose of identifying and removing the obstructions that impede the function of the United Church of God.”
By December 13th, it appeared that an impasse in efforts to find reconciliation among our leadership had occurred, and that a separation was inevitable. The resulting separation we are seeing is an issue of not being able to walk together since there is no agreement. (Amos 3:3).

This period of time will be extremely difficult for our brethren, as they try to figure out what has just happened in our beloved organization. In my church announcements yesterday I expressed that at this point in the crisis in UCG, every member will be personally affected regardless of whether I--your pastor--stay or depart.
As of today, with deep love and affection for all of you, I’m sharing my personal thoughts with you. I will be resigning from United Church of God effective today.

My reasons are reasons of conscience. Some brethren may be very upset with Angela and me for resigning from UCG, but in the long run let’s all hope there is a higher purpose that God will fulfill for the good of the Church of God and for all of us. Mr. Denny Luker said in his recent sermon to the Winter Family Weekend audience (Dec. 25th) regarding the separation, “if we keep our eyes on Jesus Christ as the head, something good will come out of all this.” And he said, “we are not anyone’s enemies here (in this crisis).” 

Mr. Luker also said, “I don’t blame any of my brothers in Christ; Satan is the author of this (crisis). “I have said to the ministry, if you cannot in good conscience support this present Council of Elders or my presidency, if you feel for some reason that we are so bad or so wrong, that we are incompetent, that we’ve disqualified ourselves, that we’re unrighteous, or whatever, if you cannot support us for whatever reasons may be, then my recommendation would be to do the honorable thing and resign.”

Like many of you, I had been praying daily that no separation would occur, but if a separation would still occur, that God would give me a clear understanding on what to do, and how to still guard the gospel and shepherd the brethren. This has been a daunting task for me, but yesterday I came to a peaceful decision. 

I wish to thank so many of you for your words of encouragement and support these past few months. They’ve been helpful to me as I kept vigil, watching for a “Jordan River” to open before me to show me the path more clearly. The greatest concern in my heart has been in preserving the security of the brethren within Mansfield and Canton, and to reassure the brethren that I will continue to shepherd God’s flock that has been entrusted to my care. I have not changed in any way as the person you have come to know.

Our Mansfield and Canton congregations have brought Angela and me enormous joy. We have seen the growth, and shared in the beautiful peace and fellowship each Sabbath. With you, we have comforted those who have suffered loss and cheered in welcoming the newborn. We have shared blessings in Mansfield and Canton that other congregations only long for.

I don’t want to sway the membership either way, but I do pray and encourage each of you to seek more understanding about the most recent issues on both sides, so as to be able to make careful judgments. This will still take some time, perhaps weeks or months. By growing through this process, I believe you and I are preparing to discern even greater spiritual challenges ahead, and to eventually judge angels. Even with my separation I still believe the “battle” is not the brethren’s at this time, but God’s. For some time, I encouraged our brethren not to take any “sides” or make any “moves” unless and until things become very clear, out in the open, and where fruits can be evaluated. In good and clear conscience, keeping all these things in mind, I felt a need to separate from the organization. Indeed we still pray for our leaders, as Paul sought prayers for the ministry: 

“…brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may run swiftly and be glorified, just as it is with you…” (2 Thess 3:1)
“Pray for us; for we are confident that we have a good conscience, in all things desiring to live honorably.” (Heb 13:18)
I believe, as Mr. Denny Luker also stated in a recent sermon, that we are all still one body of Christ, if we have God’s Holy Spirit. Let’s all hope that in the future we come to focus on the things that we have in common rather than the things that divide us. This should be true for members in any group—United Church of God, the emerging new church organization, or multiple other Church of God groups who share our values.

Brethren, please know that as your pastor, I am not leaving my calling as an ordained minister of Jesus Christ. This calling is understood to be directly from God, and God willing, I will continue to fulfill this calling for many years to come. I will not try to influence or persuade any UCG brethren to change their affiliation. I will not criticize UCG, its leadership or its members. I separate in peace with HUGE gratitude for all that United Church of God has done for Angela and me, and with HUGE gratitude for the way all of you have treated us and welcomed us from the beginning, six years ago. I will continue to be available if any wish to ask me questions about what has brought us to this point, without disparaging any individuals. I am not far removed from any of you. I will ALWAYS be available should you wish to reach me.

I have offered to help with any details to affect a smooth transition for the remaining Mansfield and Canton, OH congregations.

God’s mercy on all of us, and God’s kingdom come!

In Christian love,
Chris & Angela Moen

Another UCG 'Evangelist' Resigns

Sunday, January 2, 2011

The Religious Landscape of the U.S.

  Click to enlarge

A surprising survey of the religious landscape of the United States.  Armstrongites will use this as an excuse for the reason they are not making an impact in the country - too many Baptists.....

Check out maps of the world here:  The Floating Sheep

The Buffet Churches of God

Check out Douglas Becker's latest article on the UCG Crisis:

Read the entire article here:  The Buffet Churches of God

As we head into 2011, things just don’t look that good for United. At current count, it appears that 30% of their ministry are fired or left. The UCG lost about 10% of their membership in Latin America due to a controversy over a couple owning a day care center who let their employees work into sunset on Friday nights in the winter and on Holy days. United said no and that the couple couldn’t be members in good standing. This is ironic, since the UCG is adamant that their own members not only can conduct commerce on the Sabbath by eating out in restaurants, but are encouraged to do so. One would think that this would be a glaring inconsistency and invalidate their entire eschatology, but somehow the cognitive dissonance is not just dismissed, but embraced. If you give it some thought, maybe this isn’t so weird, if you consider in what high esteem they hold Herbert Armstrong, the false prophet, who based his prophecies on the abundantly disproved heresy of British Israelism. Anyway, since United took such an intransigent stance with the couple, the ministers south of the border thought it so unfair and not just left, but formed their own CoG.
Amidst this turmoil, those left in the UCG are becoming restless. Some are saying that Dennis Luker is trying to destroy United. This is patently silly. He’s not trying. A number are beginning to have some difficulty with the doctrine of the UCG. What do you think it may be? Eating out on the Sabbath? Church Governance? No and no. You may be as startled as I was to learn that the newest issue causing division is… wait for it… Postponements. Say what?!? Postponements? That’s totally weird. There are other things you would think would come to the fore first, even though this issue has been fomenting for the last 8 years under the radar. It’s like Lutherans objecting to their religion because of Martin Luther not proposing to keep the Sabbath.