UPDATE: Due to some questioning of my comment that UCG allows the wearing of crosses according to personal preference, I am adding a link to my source.
The statement actually comes from Victor Kubik in response to a question on the subject in 1995: “Re: wearing a cross as a symbol of devotion to God, I see this as a personal matter about which the Church of God need not make an issue.” (Kubic, Victor. Personal Correspondence Department, August 5, 1995; p:2)
My Source That does not mean that many chose to do so at this time. It has set a precident for the future incoming “new christians”.
THE STATE OF UCG & COGWA
I had planned to post a thorough and excellent study into the New Moons today. That study was provided by one of our visitors who has done some really good work. That will have to be postponed as the backup material to yesterday’s post is now available.
First, I will say that while proclaiming that no changes are coming, the UCG has been slowly making changes since its incepetion. In some cases this was done by actually teaching new things such as concerning the Eighth Day. In other cases this was done by making executive decisions by now saying that something was up to personal descretion; the use of crosses comes to mind as well as not actually eating unleavened bread on every day of the feast. In other cases changes were made by simply shelving doctrines and not teaching them so that they were forgotten.
Here is a small list of such things. Some of the issues at the link are perhaps minor but the many straws add up to a real drift away from the origional teachings.
UCG has already watered down much; including divorce and remarriage almost at will; marriage to the unconverted; wearing crosses; not eating unleavened bread during every day of that Feast; the Eighth Day and much more.
For a list of some of the changes and a comparison with LCG positions which are much closer to the Armstrong positions see this article. Remember that UCG has been deeply divided and not all elders have been speaking the same thing.
Of course readers know that I do not blindly hold to the doctrines of any man or group; instead relying on God’s word. This is just to refute the proclamations that no changes have taken place or are being considered.
This report came in from Tacoma about last Sabbath and shows the intent of the new public Outreach of UCG.
Rather than a sermonette they had decided to play a “beyond today” film featuring Darius McNeely. He began to explain that the occult and the dark side was in all of our book stores, libraries and movies which is effecting young people which quickly moved to grotesque pictures being displayed on a 8 foot screen and sound system to the members. It was at this point that I squirmed in my chair thinking about what the members were viewing in the middle of church services and any children or teenagers who may be watching.
Then Darius announced that he was going to interview an “ex-witch” and her experiences in the dark side. The face was blurred and the voice was a deeply distorted to cover for this ex-witch.
When I heard the deep voice it sounded more like it was coming from a warlock or from Satan himself and what broiled up in me was this intense churning in my stomach whereby I thought I was going to throw up.
I late saw a lady who was at the point of tears, clutching her bible and extremely angry and who proceeded to tell me of the “outrages act of the pastor to allow such demonic filth upon the members”. It was at this point I felt that I was right about my emotions . She told me all the members should go home and have a spiritual shower to wash off what they just experienced.
During the service members began walking out. My wife went to the ladies restroom where she meet two ladies in absolute shock as to what was being played in front of the members and their children. One or two others left the room but a portion sagged their heads pretending to be reading their bibles. This could only be described as a pure spiritual violation of God’s people to allow such a thing at a service of dedicated to our God and yet be mixed with such darkness.
Jesus said, “My Father’s house… is a house of prayer”. How could two pastor ministers, two elders and one deacon look on without saying anything but rather when the Tacoma pastor went up to speak he was actually proud of the presentation and pointed it out as good thing for witnessing. What was interesting is that at the beginning of the program, UCG had the wording, “woe to them that call evil good and good evil” which was a basis of the video.
Next, the visiting pastor got up to give his sermon and was obviously embarrassed by what had just happened but nonetheless supported the program two times during his message to give some sort of approval that it was okay, to watch during a church service.
What is further interesting is the visiting pastor’s message. He discussed the “the kingdom building seminars”. In his discourse he outlined that the church had done its surveys and that many “outside christians” will be attracted to these seminars, that members have typically been known as self righteous about our beliefs and that gossip was a number one problem throughout the history of the church. Members were told that these “new christians” believe that they are christians and that members should keep quiet about their beliefs…so as to not offend. During the message [Now that is real witnessing and preaching the gospel. admin] I had felt it was given in an aggressive manner, a putdown of God’s people and an overall message of ‘a lot of stuff’. Interestingly, this minister said that UCG was now the “B team” and that in spite of the many mistakes of Mr. Luker the church should actively support his leadership, regardless.
I think what is important to notice is his wording, “kingdom building”.
This is a term greatly and overly used by the evangelical community to its members. We on the other hand use the term, “preaching the gospel of the kingdom and baptizing into…”. Could it now be that the intent of the CoE is a closer move towards the mainstream, open door and non critical or nonjudgmental membership where sin or the breaking of the law is no longer to be questioned? Where only grace abounds? In other words, a complete and total watering down of the membership where anything goes? Only time will tell.
It is rather obvious that the new seminars are designed to fill the pews with people who know next to nothing about this way. Doctrine is to be sidelined and then offending doctrines are to be simply dropped at the appropriate time. The reason for the recent big push; that the UCG is just one big family that must get along and not offend one another or be judemental, now becomes obvious.
The CoE needs confirmation from the May GCE Conference before moving forward with their agenda. Watch for it; be aware and carefully examine these seminars and how much doctrine they actually present. Of how much “Gospel” they really preach. The “Gospel” being to teach all nations to obey all the commandments of God, Mat 28.
They will be designed to have as much public appeal as possible, while neglecting the core doctrines. Watch, as new people begin to come in and see how much they really understand. The ranks are to be padded with main stream believers until the “Called” become a minority; after which core doctrine will be sidelined.
VICTOR KUBIK’S LETTER
From: “Ministerial Services” <ministerial_services@
To: “Ministerial Services” <ministerial_services@
Subject: Response to Proselytizing UCG Members
Date: Thu, 17 Mar 2011 13:23:37 -0400
Dear fellow elders,
Thank you to those who responded to our letter that asked about proselytizing activity in your area. The responses, which totaled 27 pages, ranged from accounts of blatant attempts by parties who left us to engage our membership with the seeming intent to draw our members to themselves, to the other end of the scale where some of you declared that it’s been peaceful in your congregations and that, for now, there is no cause for alarm.
Some suggested writing a letter of warning to the entire membership. Others recommended that we do nothing so as not to stir contention and play into the hands of those causing division by drawing negative attention to this situation. Other suggestions fell somewhere in between.
Because of this variation we considered what we should do. We have decided to trust you to determine what is best for your congregation(s). There is no “one size fits all” solution. If active proselytizing is taking place, go ahead and respectfully expose it and warn your congregations about what is happening. Our pastoral duty is to protect and care for our congregations.
However, even if your area is not affected it may be good to prepare your members about what is happening in other areas. Here is possible wording:
“Even though our area is relatively unaffected by proselytizing, I wish to let you know what is happening in some other areas. We hoped that those who left us would abide by their own ethics statement, but some have not. I was sent 27 pages of documentation from elders around the world, which show what some of those who have left us are doing to pull away members from the United Church of God. We know there is much communication between families and friends in the Church of God community that affects many of us. Please pray that our congregation is not affected and that this proselytizing stops in areas where it is happening, so that all of us can get on with doing the Work. Satan would love to stop the momentum that we have gained in public proclamation of the gospel during the last couple of years.”
Pray for discernment to take the wisest course of action with your congregations.
The 27-page document contains responses with names and places deleted. It should help you see what is happening around the world. This will guide you to proper action and explanation in your circumstances.
Since some have asked for evidence, we have enclosed a recent letter from Ron Kelley who wrote directly to UCG members he recently pastored. This is enclosed for your use, if necessary, for members who feel we are simply making unfounded accusations.
In addition, a UCG member forwarded to us a copy of his question to, and the official response from, The Church of God, a Worldwide Association about proselytizing.
These documents will allow those asking to privately judge this material against COGWA’s own ethics statement. While reference might be made without names, we do not recommend reading the attached documents from the pulpit. Please consult with the leadership in your area for “safety in a multitude of counsel” before doing any extensive public announcements.
The United Church of God is moving forward. Let’s use the upcoming Holy Days as a springboard to be spiritually renewed, fit to do the Work of God.
Ministerial and Member Services
No I do not have the 27 pages of material, you will need to write to UCG for that information. At the top of this letter I have deleted the final section of the address to protect them from spam through the publication of the letter. You may reach then by adding @ucg.org to the partial address above.
The Beat Goes On
This letter details the struggle for South Africa and how many of the brethren there may now be rethinking their decision. This is not from Vic Kubik but from an independent source.
In South Africa the split occurred as follows:-
One Sabbath when the UCG members showed up for services there were given five documents all with the header “UCG” on them implying they were official UCG papers. In the documents were a lot of allegations about how UCG had been unChristian, uncharitable, not applying doctrine, that despicable changes were coming, and so the UCG leadership was re-incorporating under a new name to separate itself from these evil elements.
On the last page each member had to sign off that same day as to which group (UCG or COGwa) they would follow, and make that commitment there and then. With all three paid ministers (Kriedeman, Becker and Smith) representing the ‘good’ side which would be the new name, almost everyone signed themselves over to COGwa, otherwise they would have no church to go to. In the Durban congregation, only 7 or 8 members refused to sign saying they needed more time to review and think, but based on the larger majority decision, the three ministers determined that all the property and bank account were justifiably theirs to take into COGwa —- which they did.
Most members are now beginning to realize that these men were so removed from what was happening that their decision was made by asking their former boss, Andre van Belkum, who had just moved to New Zealand; what would Andre do? (never mind Jesus!) It escaped their thinking that Andre owes his ability to immigrate into NZ (where his children are) to Leon Walker who on the NZ Council sponsored the van Belkum’s NZ application — essentially Leon ‘owned’ them, and if Van Belkum said no to COGwa it would have been back to SA for him. So it appears quite a few in SA are drifting back, making it worthwhile for both Melvin Rhodes and Kubik to both travel out there for the Spring holy days.
The Purpose of the push by COGWA
In NYC area, several COGwa members had shown up in the past few weeks at UCG services after services were over, claiming to be “ambassadors of good will” (!). They then invited several members to lunch the following week, all on the understanding they would get together after services, meeting somewhere or picking each other up — but then during the week they would call those members and say that since they were all “brothers and sisters’ with the same beliefs, why not just come to the COGwa service to avoid the extra driving over to meet (not that this extra driving deterred them from showing up the week before!)
Apparently this is happening in many areas, with ministers not yet on the COGwa payroll, straining to show high headcount/attendance figures to justify why they should be given a paid position. No doubt they also hope people will get together in this way to be together on the holy days, with some extra offering money landing at COGwa instead of UCG. This goes to the announcement that was made in NY by the UCG minister that Jim Franks has openly said they need 1-2,000 more members very quickly, and that while they were hoping the Spring Holy days would bankroll their start-up salaries, their numbers are so small they are expecting less than half the income they planned to have to be operational.
Interestingly, Dennis Luker or Holladay was supposed to have said they didn’t care if they lost up to half of UCG: This is apparently because with 8,000+ members an operation with the campus and the staffing of the UCG structure is viable. Less than 8,000 members, one needs to run a Flurry or Pack/Hulme-type church where there is almost no payroll. What COGwa expects to do is just not feasible with fewer than 7 or 8,000, especially when more than half are needing subsidies.
Notice that the leaders of the split into the COGWA had planned in advance for a certain income. The promise that the first High Day offerings are to go to the Outreach Effort is intended to hide the fact that those funds will go to saleries for people, by using the subterfuge that those people are part of an Outreach effort. I would add to the last para that he is referring to about 8,000 actually supporting brethren and not just 8,000 overall; a third of whom require a subsidy.
I seem to remember that it was Dennis who said that he didn’t care of half UCG left; I do not believe he would have dared to say that on his own without backup to support that position. The very statement shows how strongly the liberal CoE wanted this split; and why? To be free to persue their own agenda! This was a mutually agreed divorce; desired by BOTH sides!
Personally I read the situation as UCG needing to expedite its coming changes to present a broad public appeal and attract new members. The COGWA is in a disasterous financial situation and presently desparate for a solution.