Monday, April 30, 2018

Searching For Reasons Why I No Longer Attend A Church of God

A reader here had the following observations about why attending a Church of God is no longer appealing:

Hi, I went online feeling a bit down, my reaction was to listen to a sermon maybe it would brighten up my day a little. I found a 3 part mini-series from Gary Petty (UCG) on why people leave titled: "Fed up with Church?" I thought maybe this might be the series where someone would finally shed light on why people like me have stopped attending with the COG's. Maybe he might call out what needed to be called out. Maybe he might say "we have a responsibility too" maybe he might have a real talk with people and admit leadership/church failures on peoples lives. Maybe he might have gotten this survey from former members. 
Instead, from all the research he says he's done, this disappointing and anemic list is put together. No wonder this ended up a 3 part mini-series of about 2 minutes each. He gives three reasons and anyone who's been put through the ringer while attending any COG knows these reasons are not even close or major issues in those churches. This list was clearly not produced from reasons by former members. 
Gary Petty says: 
I’ve been doing some research on why people become         disillusioned or fed up with the church. It’s interesting to read why people, you know, they do these surveys, why people say, “Yes, I’m becoming fed up or disillusioned with attending church”. 
Reason #1 - I’ve been writing down these reasons that people give, is that the culture and values of the Bible seem bizarre in today’s world. 
Reason #2 - “The Bible has no relevance to my everyday life.”
Reason #3 - We usually think of younger people, millennials, and others, who are sort of disillusioned with the church. I read something recently where the people older than them in their 30s and their 40s and even early 50s are getting fed up with their churches for an interesting reason. It seems their churches change their style, adding certain kinds of music and certain kinds of teaching to interest them when they were in their teens and their 20s.
I say: I feel like he and others ALWAYS pass over the real issues. Hearing his reasons left me more disappointed and less trustworthy of these leaders. A quick google search for "top reason why people leave the church" landed me on this very first site up at the top of search (he would have seen this): 10 Reasons Why People Leave Church 
Now unlike Gary Petty, I will say this list is not compiled from reasons by former members, I got this off the first site on page one off a google search. Many people from many denominations could have been surveyed and yet these reasons below sound more relevant and I always here these reasons over and over again. Gary Petty, why won't you take the list below and address it? 
Reason #1 -  People leave the church when they don’t find Jesus. [some cog's try to minimize sermons about the person of Jesus, should focus on the gospel, not Jesus] 
Reason #2 - People leave the church because they feel lonely. [being part of a cog can feel more isolating than you think, expect isolation from family, friends and in more common cases other members from within your group. Some cog's ruin marriages] 
Reason #3 - People leave the church because they’re looking for something authentic. [I felt most fake and not authentic while attending a COG, to express myself was prohibited, I once poured my heart out to another member telling them I hadn't prayed for almost a year only to be judged and seen as scum. I explained my shame while praying while not doing what I was supposed to was making it hard for me to continue praying]  
Reason #4 - People leave church because they are tired of being told how a “good Christian” will vote. [Although i was taught Christians shouldn't vote it was clear from sermons at the COG i attended that there was a disdain for the left because of their progressive policies and how many of them went against biblical views.]  
Reason #5 - People leave the church when they feel like they need to become a carbon copy of an individual or ideal in order to be fully included and appreciated. [Some COG's expect you to talk, dress, act, and think the same claiming they are one body, one mind, one spirit. This can be dangerous especially when a leader has a narcissistic personality disorder, such leaders will continually use themselves as a measure of how others should be] 
Reason #6 - People leave the church because they get turned off by social climbing, cliques, and nepotism. [An experience that turned me off was seeing the ministers of the HQ I attended drive in with their model of the year leased vehicles while members who contributed 3 tithes, offerings and other contributions were having to carpool. Furthermore, these ministers and wives rarely had lay members over for dinners or hung out with non-ministers. These same ministers preached about being hospitable Christians. I had a beat down, high-mileage car and was constantly told to do airport runs. Putting more miles on an already falling apart vehicle] 
Reason #7 - People leave the church because of controlling leaders and unskilled teachers. [David C. Pack, say no more] 
Reason #8 - People leave the church because of unresolved conflict. [I left worse than when I came in, fact!] 
Reason #9 - People leave the church because they need less drama in their lives. [The COG's are a thriving cesspool of drama, internal fighting for recognition, members ratting each other out, members fighting over dating because the dating pool is so small, sins being exploited from the pulpit, control struggles, church correction over not sending in your money, people living one paycheck away from total collapse.]
Reason #10 - People leave the church when they can’t find community. [10 & 9 go hand in hand. No one talks to me now.]


Anonymous said...

Those reasons are EXACTLY why I no longer have anything to do with those cults.

Dumbhead said...

Tithing may be too much of a burden for people. Other groups outside of Church of God groups may also have one tenth teaching but 20 and 30 percent may be way overwhelming for people unless they are making a very good salary. Why can't leaders see this? Someone pumping gas at a gas station can't afford it. So what are they supposed to?

Ms. Lemon said...

Most of the ACOG churches should be avoided.

RSK said...

Of course they pass up on the real issues. A sermon like that is bound to be innately defensive and serves only as damage control. And thats their real reason for giving it. Heard many of them even in my short time.

Unknown said...

I think that the late Ron Dart summed it up best... people leave churches because they do not feel loved.

They will then throw out smoke screens of other reasons, or doctrinal what not, but in the end...

people will put up with a lot if they feel esteemed and loved.

Anonymous said...

Come to my church folks. Give me lots or all your money (common) and in return we'll mess with your mind and treat you like crap. What, no you say? Boy, Satans really got people deceived.

Anonymous said...

Ron Dart made a huge mistake leaving the Baptist faith.

Anonymous said...

Reasons why people leave the so-called COGs:

Because they get expelled if they say anything about the stalkers and other perverts who are continually harassing them, and who are always protected and allowed to stay.

Tessa said...

The sermon demonstrates what's wrong with corporate cogs. Self justifying self seeking dishonest men trying to tell you how it really is. Proud and unable to hear anything bad about their church. It's hard to put up with that kind of "love". No wonder people leave. Wwcg had a lot of knowledge but never got onto the hard bit about humility being kind being loving. It had the same vibe as 1st century Judaism. The Pharisees didn't like Christ and they tampered with the laws of god. They built a facade. There's so much to say about this. Thanks to everyone for for their honesty. Honesty is in short supply when you just want to look good.

Anonymous said...

The MIND behind the cult:

UCGaIA (Kubic)

Leaders: Originally, the mind of the hireling thinking about where his next paycheck will come from. And now, the mind of the newly credentialed, adulterous, killer “minister” thinking about what a clever life hacker he is.

“Members”: The mind of the unrepentant, unconverted, unbelieving, uncivilized, unsociable stalker who attends but may not even be signed up as a member of the UCG. The mind that would really rather be somewhere else, but its favorite false group is almost non-existent, so it hangs out at the UCG instead.

Anonymous said...

#11: Idle minister/deacons' wives' coffee-talk gossip about the 'sins', 'scandals' lifted from detailed file ACOG runs on you :-(

Great schadenfreude at your expense old chum :-(

Anonymous said...

I left the PCG because they were practically screaming at me for things I didn't do. That helped me realize there was no spirit flowing in that church. Other reasons were their doctrinal errors, and their closed mindedness, i.e. taking sides on issues they knew next to nothing about and were not interested in learning anything about (but they thought they had the inspired answers). Once again, no spirit flowing.

Anonymous said...

I would not say that they were all pharisess, but Pack sure is.

Anonymous said...

"...the stalkers and other perverts who are continually harassing them ..."

Seriously? I've never seen that happen. But nowadays you can get accused of stalking just for asking a girl on a date. The women are hysterical.

Byker Bob said...

HWA made a booking for a personal appearance by Jesus in 1975, and we later found out that he had done this without Jesus’ authorization. As luck would have it, I also discovered that HWA only had partial understanding of 2/3 of God, and zero understandingnof the New Covenant, plus HWA had rolled a bunch of extrabiblical theories into his teachings and didn’t even keep many of the beliefs he taught himself!


Anonymous said...

7.27 PM
I'm a guy, yet I was stalked by about half a dozen people while attending WWCG. Every time I noticed, these people were staring at me. One married woman with small children followed me like a dog, and this over several years.
Stalking does exist. I assume I was 'chosen' by these weirdos because I'm more gifted than most.

Ed said...

I left back in 1995 because I realized I was in a cult for 13 years. After I left I tried attending several mainstream churches. None of them seemed to be special to me. I started reading about the history of religion, mostly online, and blogs like this and realized that religion in general is based on a lot of false assumptions and that "all" churches are man made institutions. What really surprises me is how many mainstream churches push tithing. For this and other reasons I could never be a part of any religion ever again.

Anonymous said...

I left the PCG because they slyly changed a number of HWA teachings, all the while claiming they were preserving everything exactly as he taught it, and blasting other churches for their changes.

Lake of Fire Church of God said...

I left the Worldwide Church of God because, as a young person at age 21, I was tired of hearing how I had no future in this world - the Church always preached the imminent Great Tribulation right around the corner and Christ's soon return. After I was rejected from Ambassador College (thank you Dear God), I went on to obtain a B.S. degree in Finance and Investments at the University of Maryland. One-time at Church, someone asked me in the mid-1970s why I was going to College because of he didn't seem to think it made any sense to do so since the end was near. Gee, I am glad I didn't listen to him!


Near_Earth_Object said...

It is important to make a distinction between The Church and denominationalism. The Church is a collection of people who constitute the symbolic Body of Christ. A denomination is a human effort to organize around certain Christian beliefs.

The Church is always one and always united. Denominations are undergo schism frequently. One can become disillusioned with a denomination but without becoming disillusioned with the Church.

People, even many Christians, erroneously equate the Church with some denomination or another. Espcially, Armstrongists and ex-Armstrongists who were taught that the WCG, actually a denomination, was The Church.

Anonymous said...

In the PCG, the old sex maniacs, sex perverts, and predators become frustrated and angry when they don't quickly get what they want, and go around gossiping and lying to the corrupt local leaders. Then the incompetent and immoral local leaders that Gerald Flurry set up become frustrated and angry and shout at the intended victim. Most people in the PCG, high and low, have no morals and no decency at all.

Anonymous said...

I was put out of LCG for reasons that were either stupid or entirely made up.

It was traumatizing. I tried and tried to get them to meet with me or in some/ any way open the doors of communication because I wanted back in so desperately.

LCG refused all efforts made by me towards reconciliation.

Now that I have perspective (it's been a few years) I can see that having that door slammed in my face was how God saved me.

I found Jesus and found His message to be so inspiring, so loving and so comforting. I could never go back to the doom and gloom of Armstrongism ever again.

To add to that, the people in Armstrong churches, although often nice to some degree, are just so NOT filled with the fruits of the spirit.. and they are completely blind to it. They are so judgmental and seem to be incapable of critical thinking. They only know conditional love.

My experience in LCG helped me better understand how Jim Jones was able to get all those people to drink the poisoned kool-aide. So many people are willing to blindly follow church leaders even when they are doing things that they know are wrong. In LCG I heard people say things like, "God will sort it out", or "if RCM says it it's as good as if it were printed in the Bible"; or "God is testing me to see if I will be obedient to His government so I must comply no matter what".

God closed the LCG door and offered me soooooo much more in the long run. I will be forever grateful that LCG acted impetuously, hatefully and egotistically because it literally saved my soul.

Praise the Lord!

Anonymous said...

Ed on May 1, 2018 at 3:19 AM said...“What really surprises me is how many mainstream churches push tithing.”

If you think about it, it will not surprise you at all.

Even the ham-eating Sunday-keepers know that you do not mess around with the tithing law, just with every other law of God. Pretty much the only teaching of some televangelists is that you should send them lots and lots of money and God will bless you.

When the apostate Tkaches openly turned against virtually everything that HWA had taught in their Great Apostasy of January 1995 they even threw out tithing. However, a number of months later, Joey, Jr. suddenly and conveniently claimed that he had discovered that Abraham had tithed before the institution of the Old Covenant, and began calling on every man, woman and child to resume tithing immediately.

Anonymous said...


"God is testing me to see if I will be obedient to His government so I must comply no matter what".

If you follow LCG's teachings to their logical conclusion, the angels who followed their leader Lucifer into rebellion were doing the right thing, following government from the top down.

If an LCG leader states that the angels under Lucifer should have obeyed the Logos or the Father rather than Lucifer, he has undermined the foundations of LCG, as he has admitted that sometimes you need to follow God rather than Rod. However, if an LCG leader states that the angels were obeying government properly by obeying their God-appointed leader, Lucifer, he has to admit that when an LCG pastor breaks away from LCG, his congregation is doing the right thing by following him. It's a big, big mess.

Anonymous said...

9.29 AM
Joeys Jr reversal on tithing didn't work. Once the mental barrier was walked through, that was it.

Anonymous said...

The reasons why people stay away from attending cog groups are as long as your arm. Many of the reasons are a result of a gross lack of the fruits of Godly character. Or any decent character at all.
It starts at the house of the ministry and filters down.
Many simply will not tolerate such lousy behaviour anymore. Why should they ?
For many its like trying to worship God in bedlam. Can God be found in a Church of God these days ?

Anonymous said...

"Ham Eating Sunday Keepers"

This is a terrific name for the next Big Break band. I think it would be a great Parody Band for Ex-COG. Or, if someone wants to be so bold, start a new COG Voice Blog using this name!

I don't know who 9:29 AM is, but it sounds like one of the COG-type hardliners or minister types. The only point he is making loud and clear is that it is, to many, inside and outside of Armstrongism, "All about the Money". And by the way - it isn't the "Ham-Eating Sunday Keepers" that "messed around" with the Law. Jesus himself is the one who ripped the veil in two, bridging the gap between what was and what is, making a personal relationship with Jesus Christ possible. If you want to call Jesus fulfilling of the Law "messing" with the Law, the disarming of the powers and principalities, the introduction of faith, the sending of the Comforter, the revealing of the REAL Mystery of the Ages (Christ In You) - not the distorted "mystery" HWA peddled - the FREEDOM in JESUS that 9:20 AM found that COG's seem to hate as so awful and horrible, then feel free to take that up with Jesus Christ. In His love, mercy, and grace, he'll show you, too, how great his love and mercy is - and how limited your Pharisaical Legalism is. But that's up to you - you have freedom of choice like we all have.

Oh. And there's a whole lot more to be said about the COG's than there is about eating Ham or going to church on Sunday. Majoring in the Minors is what Legalism does best, and it is proved time and time again.

David Rickman said...

HWA taught apostasy! Thank God Joseph Tkach managed to get rid of all that bull shit. Don't bother commenting about my comment because I have no respect for people who defend HWA'S false doctrines!

Anonymous said...

COG Hardliners always forget that it was HWA who started a splinter and was the original apostasy. Every other splinter has simply followed in his footsteps - having a disagreement with the church and going off doing their own thing.

So when Joseph Tkach said shortly after HWA ended his "reign" - "We aim to follow in his footsteps" - that is EXACTLY what he did.

Anonymous said...

"HWA taught apostasy! Thank God Joseph Tkach managed to get rid of all that bull shit. ...I have no respect for people who defend HWA'S false doctrines!"

And why should we respect people who think God had anything to do with the liar Tkach, his deceitful methods, and his false doctrines?

Anonymous said...

Pork and roadkill are just about the only meat some church people can afford, but they are not allowed to eat it.

Anonymous said...

David Rickman, are you in GCI ? I was glad of the changes that JT made up to a certain point. He went from one extreme like HWA did to going way out in left field to the other extreme.

Claire Voighent said...

Reason #1 why people leave - They don’t find Jesus.
Reason #1 why people DON'T leave - Where else will I go instead?

The promise that every church makes is that it knows the way to get to heaven, and they can show you the way.

Everything else they might offer in the here-and-now is all secondary, all window dressing.

I knew there was a big problem with the church because the corpus of their teachings is so small. Really, it reduces to a list of clichés. All sermons, literature, and even fellowship is just a series of trite phrases with bridges in between them. Some of these phrases are drawn from the bible, and most of the rest are drawn from HWA via the SDAs, British Israelism literature, or other speculative nonsense. Of what use is a list of clichés? How does that benefit anyone?

But then I knew there was a big problem with christianity because for centuries it remains based on a single static piece of literature that only grows moldier and dustier with time. It does not grow, and because of that, it does not permit christians to grow either. The bible is itself just a string of clichés. And the best parts of it aren't even original, as they predate it. And they often aren't even as good as they could be. And I'm not even going to address the worst parts.

Sure, I didn't find Jesus attending a COG. And if not there, then where else can I go that will better my chances of finding Jesus?

Or, maybe there's a good reason why Jesus wasn't interested in me? Maybe I wasn't called, or elected, or chosen, so it doesn't matter what I do or where I go? Or maybe he doesn't exist? Nope, I didn't find Jesus, but then does anyone?

I left because I realized there was no point to staying, and no need to find anywhere else to go instead either.

Anonymous said...

Who do you prefer, HWA or Tkach?

That's like asking, would you like your left or right arm broken?

Both were liars.

Anonymous said...

11.02 AM
Strictly speaking, the COG splinters don't just teach members to obey those who 'administer Gods government.' Rather they use brainwashing techniques to induce automatic blind obedience in their members. One example is the ministers telling members that if someone fell away or something bad happened to a person, it's because 'they did not obey.' This is pavlovian conditioning. Herb would throw in his bit with his constant 'government is everything,' ie, government is more important than life itself.
Members are to a good degree robbed of their ability to CHOOSE life or CHOOSE death.
The ministers do the 'choosing' for the members.

PS ex-minister Dennis insists that ministers don't discuss evil ploys among themselves. Admit it Dennis, your former pals are bastards.

Anonymous said...

If it were truly God's government, government would be everything. The problem is that it was never the government of God because none of those churches are doing the work of God.

Tessa said...

Does your family live by love? Does your church live by authoritarian oppressive government or by people having different responsibilities and everyone is treated with respect? Is your church a nice place to be or does it make you feel oppressed?