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John Ellliot has posted this letter on facebook and it deserves our attention. The letter is posted below with my critique and comments.  I will be breaking up the original paragraphing to better add my point by point comments. His letter will be in blue.

In my opinion, this letter proves beyond doubt that the Roig family’s Sabbath actions are to be approved by the Council. This will amount to a change in established teachings on Doctrine and will set precedents; both about the actual situation and about bypassing the GCE in making such changes.  

If and when such an action by Council takes place; any doubters will be forced to accept that this is actually happening. Enough of the GCE will be strongly riled to make for a very interesting time in United.

Before starting it is important to understand exactly what the issues are.

First, United already has long standing policies on the various aspects of Sabbath and Sabbath observance.  The first issue is about making changes in long standing teachings and policies on doctrine. 

The CoE has ABSOLUTELY NO AUTHORITY to make any such changes.  All matters of doctrine which change existing teachings MUST be presented to the General Conference of Elders and may only be approved by a 75% vote.  That is the legal issue.

The second issue is the spiritual issue of whether it is appropriate to work or to pay others to work on the Sabbath.  

The third issue is Acts 4:19 But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. And remember that Peter was speaking to the religious authority of his day. This issue is about whether we are to follow men when they have departed from the Scriptures, or whether we are to remain faithful to God.

A fourth issue is the fact that the Latin American Director and the Chile Elder were fired for acting in defense of the existing UCG policies on the subject; and that this firing came before any proper inveitigation or even before the family’s appeal.

The fifth issue is that the offending family was elevated to the Church Board in Chile and effectively took control over UCG in Latin America BEFORE any examination or decision was made concerning their violating the UCG policy existing at that time. 

It would be ethical to have waited until after the matter was resolved; and it is most unethical [by God's Word] to exalt those under review for biblically unlawfull activities.  Leaders must be above reproach.

Please keep these issues in mind as you read through this letter. 

The letter itself seems to be a smoke and mirrors attempt to confuse and distract readers from these very core issues. In my opinion this letter is deliberately designed to confuse people and topple them off of the foundation of God’s Word.  

Dividing people away from Jesus Christ by getting them so confused and distracted from the foundation of the scriptures, that the people will turn to these men for their moral compass; in place of God’s clear Word.

This letter is absolutely crucial to understand what is going on and how the deception is being carried out.

November 11, 2010

Greetings Brethren,

Awakening to a new “day,” I looked out the window to a black sky filled with pinpoints of light above snow-covered mountains as a meteorite made a slow burn to the horizon. The long nights here in Alaska where we have been visiting are lengthening. Eventually the sun will never rise or set for an eight week period in the northern parts of this state. Living in the dark there, one loses his ability to sense when a day begins or ends. Next year, during the summer months this phenomenon will reverse itself until the sun perpetually circles overhead for two months. If you haven’t done so already, generate an opinion about how one should determine the beginning and end of Sabbaths north of the Arctic Circle.

This is a straw man argument as it affects almost no one within the faith; and well established policies already exist covering this issue.  On a legal level any new opinion MUST be put to a vote and passed by 75% of the general Conference of Elders.  It would be appropriate to reexamine policy in accordance with the appropriate bylaws and rules; not outside of them.

Alaska is the largest U.S. state, yet it is sparsely populated with many towns that get isolated during seasons and weather events. A Church member living in a remote village was once its sole physician who could set the broken bones, revive the drowned, restore the nearly frozen, treat pneumonia patients, help the sick recover, etc.. If you haven’t done so already, generate an opinion on what a physician should or should not do on God’s Sabbaths.

Again a straw man argument: Such policies and guidelines already exist and have been well established for a very long time. The real issue is not about these policies; it is about the lawful manner of making changes. Don’t let these questions distract you from that point.

We have members in a certain country whose government takes children of Church members who do not allow them to attend school on the Sabbath and makes them wards of the state. We have members in other counties whose children are required to take final exams on the Sabbath or holy days in order to graduate from high/secondary school. Form an opinion about what those members should do with regards to their children and the Sabbath.

This is not true in most countries where members reside. In most cases exams can be taken by speaial request at other times; it is only necessary to make arrangements well before hand.  In cases where this may be true, we are told by Christ to: flee to another place Mat 10:23  But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come.  We have Christ’s own promise that his people will always find a refuge.  Notice Jesus did NOT tell us to compromise!

Graduation ceremonies often occur on Sabbaths, as do weddings and funerals of family members who are not in our Church. Some non-Church families hold their family’s reunions only in connection with religious holidays.   Again this is a non-argument, arguement.  These activities should not be held on Sabbath; therefore we should not participate in them on Sabbath. 

If we participate in that which we condemn on moral grounds; we are hypocrites.  Condolences or congratulations can be given before or after the Sabbath with an honest explanation that for reasons of faith we could not attend on that day.  People miss such occasions for many different reasons all the time.  Funeral homes often hold visiting hours for a day or two when one can pay their respects, wedding receptions are often in the evening ect.

The proper timing of the observances of the Passover and Pentecost can seem uncertain from Scripture.  There is nothing uncertain about these timings or dating in the scriptures, for anyone who knows the scriptures. See Passover and Part Two.

Accepting or rejecting calendar postponements would impact the dates of the Feasts by a whole month.  Not necessarily true, in the vast majority of years this would impact by only a day or two. Postponements are non Biblical and relatively modern, they are not permitted by the Bible and are part of the Babylonian based modern Rabbinic Calendar finalized  over a long period between 70 ad and 1178 ad.  It is NOT the calendar used in the Temple period and in the days of Christ.

Dining out on the Sabbath involves work by those who cook and serve. Clearly this is an obvious sin. I am glad that John does point this out.

Taxes paid by members in certain countries alleviate all of the needs intended to be covered by third tithe. In that case the intent of the tithe has been met NOT avoided.

Contractors often require that construction work on members’ homes and Church buildings continue on Saturdays. Nonsense: I am a contractor and have never worked on Sabbath in my trade.  When the deal is made; specifications can be laid out as to work schedules and timing.  To get the job they will accept the restrictions.  Just be up front about it and make it a part of the contract.

Some fish have scales during only a portion of their lives.  So what; eat them only when the scales are visible.

Bank interest and rental profits are earned every hour of every day of the week.  So what, we wear clothes on Sabbath that were made during the week. The issue is when actual payment is made; not when use takes place.

Some drugs, vitamins, minerals, food additives, gelatins, etc. include trace elements and byproducts derived from glands or shells of unclean animals.  Again, these are foolish and petty arguments; just ask your doctor or pharmacist for a kosher alternative.  Avoid those foods containing byproducts ; which should be done for health reasons as well; and avoid non acceptable products.  We are to do our very best, if something slips in without our knowing; it is not the same as deliberate sin.

If you haven’t done so already, form an opinion about the right thing to do in all the above situations. I think I already answered that.  The law is very clear on these matters; and so is the well established policy in the UCG/AIC on most of these things. 

God commands His people to keep His commandments, statutes and Judgments (Deuteronomy:26:16, Leviticus:19:37). They overshadow every aspect of our lives, yet are not specific in their application to every modern-occurring circumstance. Each new epoch of time gets filled with unique circumstances containing a myriad of complexity that is altered by changing conditions that are caused by locale, governments, authorities, conflicting laws, seasons, time zones, speed and direction of travel, International Dateline, global operations, Arctic and Antarctic Circles, spacecraft orbiting Earth, travel in space, climate, weather, migrations, economies, religious tolerance, wars, developing technologies, industry, labor-saving devices, private and commercial transportation, refueling, mediums of communication, advertising, sources of heat and power, conveniences, structures of business, automated vending machines, robotic machinery, automated processes, intra-day international commerce, military support personnel and suppliers, banking, compounding daily interest, international monetary instruments, stock exchanges, government bonds, mutual funds, communal acquisitions and ownership, national holidays, traditional holidays, holiday bonuses and gifts, taxes, fees, overhead, uniforms, socialization, grooming, clothing styles, accessories, designs, piercings, tattoos, aging, diseases, health complications, medical practitioners, types of treatments, medicines, surgeries, discoveries of new species, genetic alterations, gender modification, changing music, modern works of art, carved images, restructured Church organization, governance modifications, authorities, selection, assignments, positions and ranks of the ordained, format of services, aspects of prayer and fasting, etc., etc.. If you haven’t done so already, form an opinion about each of the above. All of these things are completely irrelevant. God’s Word says that we are not to work, nor are we to be responsible for others working.  God’s law allows acts of worship and also acts of compassion and mercy. The law of God is clear and is NOT murky like you would have people to believe. We are NOT to let governments or our personal convience dictate doctrine!

While you may feel that you have a clear view of such matters from your perspective, complexities involved with them multiply as one moves across eras, generations, cultures, geographic locations, politics, inventions, regulations, health, age, etc.  Nonsense; God’s law is UNIVERSAL; holy, right and good. God knew that mankind would develop.

 For that reason, God established the process of making Judgments regarding how His Church members are to keep His laws in unique circumstances.”Judgments” are decisions handed down by judges to explain, broaden or narrow the application of existing law… He instructs all judges who are responsible for making judgments not specifically covered in the Torah: “In controversy they shall stand as judges, and judge it according to My judgments. They shall keep My laws and My statutes . . .” (Ezekiel:44:24). He also tells them: “You shall do no injustice in judgment. You shall not be partial to the poor, nor honor the person of the mighty. In righteousness you shall judge your neighbor” (Leviticus:19:15). Taken together, God’s laws, statutes and judgments lay the foundation for a righteous society and the administrative procedures needed to govern it.”
(UCG Booklet: The New Covenant, God’s Laws Statutes and Judgments).

NO judgment may ever nullify or change God’s law. Judgments are only to help us to better apply  God’s law to various circumstances; not to change God’s law.

Making judgments on how the Law of God can be, or should be applied in unique situations is to be performed only by those to whom God has assigned that responsibility.  That responsibility in UCG is legally assigned to the General Conference of Elders and requires a 75% vote to adopt. Morally it is assigned by God to each person, for we are commanded to : Ph 2:12 . . . work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.  Thank you John Elliot.

God made some Judgments for the Israelites in combination with their impending entry into the Promised Land (Exodus:21:1).  God made the judgments, men only wrote them down.

Those were written down partly as an example to future Judgment-makers to whom He would assign that responsibility (Ezekiel:44:24). With the inception of the New Covenant came a change of who He authorized for Church leadership (Hebrews:7:12) including the transfer of responsibility for making Judgments.   Nonsense, the responsibility still belongs to God [Jesus Christ]. Men are to bind what God has bound in his law; and to loose [allow] only what God’s law allows.

And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven (Matthew:16:19). The Primacy of Peter rears its ugly head! This abominable heresy is dealt with more fully here. The Keys to the Kingdom.

What were your opinions about how God’s laws should be kept in the situations mentioned above? When we understand that the decisions about each of them are to be made by those to whom Christ gave the responsibility, our opinions become irrelevant.  What an appalling heresy! We are to follow men ONLY as they follow Christ. 1 Cor 11:1  Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.  

Again the Primacy of Peter rears its ugly head. It is each man’s personal responsibility to make his own decisions based on God’s law and with as much input as possible.  The New Covenant is about each person have God’s spirit and having full personal responsibility for his own decisions and conduct. Elders are to be examples, teachers and helps, not dictators.

To see the fruits of exalting human leaders and not being true to God by following such leaders when they make errors; take a look at the Roman Catholic Church!  Study through the apostacy in Rome and how the people were led astray.

Judgments have been made for individual members who have been impacted by nearly all the above issues at one time or another in Church history. Ministers, including the Apostle Paul, Herbert W. Armstrong, Councils, and others assigned that task, have sought God’s will in such matters using His Word. Yet, members’ responses to and opinions about those Judgments sometimes do not recognize their validity. If they are consistent with God’s Word, they are valid; otherwise they are not valid.  If some people have problems with the long standing existing doctrine [like the Roig family and the present CoE's problems with the Sabbath teachings] they need to follow established procedure and appeal to the General Conference of Elders, or disagree and leave. 

Yet, God’s thoughts are high above our own (Isaiah:55:9) and our opinions don’t compare to His.How unsearchable are His Judgments and His ways past finding out! “FOR WHO HAS KNOWN THE MIND OF THE LORD? OR WHO HAS BECOME HIS COUNSELOR” (Romans:11:33-34)?  Absolutely, so why do you want to change long established teachings: outside of bylaws and rules. Why will you use the pagan Rabbinic Calendar instead of God’s Biblical Calendar. Why will you pollute the Sabbath by buying in restaurants on Sabbath and Holy Days. Why do you make such an effort to justify watering down Sabbath even further? Why so you seek to do this by making an unethical and illegal “End Around’ the bylaws of the UCG?

The real question for each of us becomes, “Will I submit to the authority that Christ has placed in His Church and to the Judgments He approves concerning lawful behavior” (1 Corinthians:16:16, Hebrews:13:17)? Or, “Will I reject that authority and its Judgments and lean instead to my own understanding” (1 Timothy:1:19, 1 Peter:2:7, Proverbs:3:5)? The latter mindset rapidly casts members adrift from the Church as they go in search of others whose opinions match their own.

NO the real questions are: Will you follow men AWAY from the clear statements of God’s Word?  Will you search the scriptures and prove all things as the noble Bereans did? Acts 17:11 These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.  The ultimate Authority is Christ; and when men turn from God’s law; they forfeit their right to lead in his church.  By following men instead of God; we are rejecting the authority of Jesus Christ and following  wicked men into sin. We are to prove all things by God’s Word; 1 Thes 5:21: not by some man’s word.

While we should have great concern for proper obedience of God’s laws, No corporate entity is God’s church. God’s church is a spiritual entity consisting ONLY of those who follow the Lamb withersoever he goeth.

And the BILLION DOLLAR QUESTION IS: Why did you not respect and obey the “clarifications” of the lawful and legitmate authority in the WCG; Joseph Tkach?  If church leaders have the responsibility to make such decisions and such decisions MUST be obeyed and respected: why are you and those with you; IN REBELLION !  Why are you now teaching what you so recently condemned?  Do you not know that, Jas 1:8 A double minded man is unstable in all his ways. Come now, repent of this hypocrisy, Jas 4:8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.

 Our own  does not compare to that of God whose laws against murder and human sacrifice did not preclude His Judgment that Abram should sacrifice his son (Genesis:22:2), nor that He should offer up His own Son (John:3:16, Hebrews:11:17). Through obedience to those Judgments, both demonstrated submission to the will of God (Genesis:22:12, Luke:22:42) and became “Fathers” of the faithful (Galatians:3:7, Philippians:2:8-9). Those Judgments in unique circumstances stand in stark contrast to those of wolves who would sanction violations of God’s Law (Romans:1:32). The clear difference hear is that God made those commands and not men. They were the direct commands of God and NOT the judgments of men made contrary to their own rules of conduct; and contrary to God’s Word.

 False teachers will be in the Church (Matthew:7:15), so you remain responsible to insure that you follow only the directives of teachers who have the fruits of Christ’s true ministry (John:10:27). Well said, This is exactly correct! There is never an excuse for anyone following permissive, self-promoting, or divisive “judgments” made by wolves (Philippians:2:12). Proper Judgments will always promote the keeping of the spiritual intent of the Law, which is obedience to God and love for Him and one’s neighbor (Mark:12:33), while working around unique complexities that require godly wisdom for decision-making (1 Kings:3:28, Mark:2:25-28).

WELL SAID!  Let us NOT follow men who seek to defy the very rules and bylaws that they pledged to uphold and obey. Let us not follow men who would use deceit and vacuous arguments, to slyly attempt to water down God’s commandments.

It is the Church’s responsibility to make Judgments under the umbrella of God’s Law when unique circumstances create complex issues. Some have written demanding my opinion about a business operation in another hemisphere to see if our opinions match. While such a matter needs to have a Judgment made by the Church, it needs to be made by those to whom Christ has assigned that responsibility. Which is the General Conference of Elders; NOT the CoE.

 And whatever the God-inspired judgment is, Christ will bind it in heaven as the appropriate thing to do in their circumstance at that moment in time.  We shall know if it is God inspired; by the judgments consistency with God’s Word; and by whether it is done legally according to the bylaws of UCG.  Christ will ONLY bind what is consistent with his Father’s law.  Just because someone is able to pass something on the Council, in defiance of their own laws and rules; and in defiance of the General Conference of Elders does NOT make it Godly and right. Quite the contrary, such an illegal and unethical maneuver is proof positive of the lack of Godly character of the persons involved; and is therefore indicative that the decision is equally ungodly. It is also a very strong indication that the perpetrators knew that the elders would object and not pass the proposed changes.

Afterwards, any opinion, including mine, that runs contrary to that Judgment will be in opposition to that which is bound on High (Matthew:18:18). Consequently, opinions which run contrary to the Church’s Judgments become irrelevant and insubordinate (Titus:1:9-11).  If the “church’s “ judgment is illegally made by usurpers against Christ; then that judgment will NOT be backed by Jesus Christ; and all of Christ’s faithful will be obligated to protest and fight such an illegal and unethical judgment.

Any judgment that changes to how any doctrine is understood or observed: MUST be ratified by 75% of the general Conference of Elders.  Any judgment not so ratified is illegal and MUST NOT be accepted UNTIL the GCE has approved it. 

Further if the GCE should approve any change in the existing doctrine;  All persons have the right and the duty to examine the new teaching in the light of God’s Word and to fully PROVE the matter out of God’s Word, to theior own satisfaction.  If they cannot do so then they MUST leave for conscience sake; for we are to follow God and NOT men. Mat 4:10  Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.

To summarize, due to ever-changing complex situations of human life, God established the process of making “Judgments.” They are sometimes made for individual circumstances, sometimes become broader policy, sometimes remain in force, and sometimes change with varying circumstances (Acts:15:29, 1 Corinthians:8:4). But the crucial factor is that God approves the Judgments made by those He appoints to make them.  ONLY IF THEY ARE CONSISTENT WITH GOD’S WORD~!

In such matters, other opinions are rebellious to what God has approved.  AND IF DECISIONS ARE MADE CONTRARY TO GOD’S WORD; ADHERING TO SUCH DECISIONS IS REBELLLION AGAINST ALMIGHTY GOD!

 In this age of criticism of leadership and lack of submission to authority,  WE ARE TO NEVER FORGET THAT OUR ULTIMATE MORAL AUTHORITY IS ALMIGHTY GOD AND NOT ANY MAN.  IF A MAN IN A LEADERSHIP POSITION MAKES A DECISION CONTRARY TO GOD’S WORD; IT IS THAT LEADER WHO IS IN REBELLION AGAINST GOD!  If we follow that man’s decision; we are following him into rebellion against God!

our mentality can gravitate to that of society’s and be in conflict with God (Romans:8:7). Scripture warns us to have no association with such (2 Timothy:3:1-5).  Thank you John Elliot; for warning us to have no association with those who would act illegally and unethically to rebel against God’s commandments and the Bylaws of United!  If the CoE passes any “clarification” that changes any established policy on any doctrine; and does not seek the approval of the GCE; then the CoE is in rebellion against its own rules and against Almighty God!  John Elliot has just told us to have nothing to do with them in that circumstance.

The appropriate Church leaders have studied various situations and rendered Council-approved Judgments, some of which are posted online at  http://members.ucg.org/content/study-papers. Equally as important as these directives are, is our submission to them. How highly we value our own personal opinions correlates directly with who God will select to participate in what the Sabbath Day forecasts – His Kingdom (Matthew:7:21). Neither you or any man is God;  We will all be judged by God according to HIS Word and not according to the words of any man.

Be diligent to be known by God as one who is submissive in performing His will (John:12:26) and one who is a productive member of Christ’s Body (Ephesians:4:16). Diligence in doing so will bear godly fruit for the Kingdom (2 Peter:1:10-11) and you will enter His eternal “Rest” (Hebrews:4:11).  Absolutely, well said.  However loyalty to and diligence to a corporate entity or to men is NOT synonymous with loyalty to God.  We MUST exalt our heavenly Father and his Christ as our ultimate moral authority and fulfill their will; NOT the will of law breakers. 

With Christian love and concern,

John Elliott
Pastor, “Central” Arizona
Senior Pastor, East Africa

Brethren, it is vital that this letter be provided to as many people as possible. Please send links or copies to as many people as possible.  Please include as many elders as possible; dont; just assume that being elders they must know what is going on. very many of them have heard only one side of the story.

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