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Dec. 23 Letter to Ministers and Members

December 23, 2010

Dear Ministers and Members,

As the firstfuits in God’s plan of salvation, we have an awesome calling. What God has promised to His faithful sons and daughters is beyond our fullest comprehension. We are promised if we remain steadfast to inherit incredible promises! (1 Corinthians 2:9-10).

This is why we in the United Church of God have the vision of God’s Kingdom firmly planted in our conscience. Every day the dedicated servants at the home office and in church offices around the world work many long hours to ensure the gospel of Jesus Christ and the Kingdom of God is preached with increasing effectiveness, and that each of you have a place to worship God each Sabbath—with faithful ministers to serve you. Please know that this will continue, despite the internal challenges we’ve faced of recent months.

Writing to our brothers in the faith around A.D. 60, the apostle Peter told the brethren that he recognized that “you have been grieved by various trials” (1 Peter 1:6). He noted that these types of severe trials proved “the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold” (verse 7). We earnestly pray that you, too, are becoming that precious gold in our Father’s treasure.

We recognize the faith—the faith in God and His purpose—that is being produced in you and in the United Church of God. This faith is produced as we hold fast to the precious truths and principles that He, through Christ, has revealed to us. We see that faith expressed in several ways: by your continued selfless service and commitment to Jesus Christ, who is the living Leader of this Church; in the thousands of signatures on the much-appreciated card to the Council of Elders; and in the many e-mails, letters and phone calls of support. Such expressions humble us and help us sustain and grow our own faith in God through these turbulent times. For that we thank you deeply, well beyond what simple words like these can convey.

We believe that the current long and hard trial within the United Church of God is nearing its end. In the past few days we have received a number of resignations of ministers and former administrators. We do not rejoice in seeing these resignations. In fact, as the apostle Peter noted, we are grieved. It remains deeply painful to see new church groups start up in some pockets of the country and former ministers still publishing or putting on the Internet statements that have little or no basis in fact. Based on recent information sent to us from a number of sources, we now know with certainty that former trusted ministers have been and are now actively and openly trying to draw away faithful members, like yourself, to new groups. As they will find, separating into other groups will not solve their problems.

The Council of Elders is in possession of irrefutable documentation that demonstrates complicity by certain ministers and members in secretive efforts to undermine and destroy the very organizational fabric of the United Church of God. We are greatly saddened to see this, as it hurts to know as a fact that some have essentially said one thing regarding reconciliation or resolution of differences while working behind the scenes with a completely different agenda.

This documentation, authored by a former home office administrator, lays bare organized efforts at a very high level to break away. It distorts the record and generally reflects a grievous state of mind among those who are fracturing current relationships and trying to influence members of the United Church of God into following them.

Sadly, if past events are any guide to the future, documentation will soon appear online, together with varied “analyses” of various stripes and colors, trying to again spin this documentation somehow into one more quasi-“proof” of the alleged evils of the Council of Elders. It is being said that we demand personal loyalty to men. This is not true—as we would not even sign a document that required that. We simply ask for the faithful service of our employees and ministry to the Church that employs them, recognizing that not everyone thinks alike but that we all need to work within the structure we all agreed upon in 1995.

Brethren, please understand that we have acted to protect the spiritual flock. As we know from history, separations and splits within the Church of God have occurred far too often—even one is too many—over the past centuries. In His final prayer before His crucifixion, Jesus Himself prayed for His disciples: “Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name—the name you gave me—so that they may be one as we are one” (John 17:11, New International Version, emphasis added throughout). As recorded by the apostle Paul, we as ministers are commanded by God to “guard what was committed to your trust” (1 Timothy 6:20). We believe this deeply underscores our sacred responsibility to safeguard the peace of the congregations of brethren we have been entrusted to serve.

We firmly believe—now as much as we did 15 years ago—that God the Father and Jesus Christ directly led hundreds of ministers to assemble together in Indianapolis, Indiana, to form what is now the United Church of God, an International Association. We believe that God Himself established the assembly that became the United Church of God and placed His name on it, desiring that through the power of His name that we would become one, even as Jesus and God the Father are One. Becoming one with God and Christ through love—a powerful and moving divine gift that must permeate every ounce of our being—remains the goal of each and every one of us. We are told by Jesus Himself that the first and greatest commandment is to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37) and secondly, to “love your neighbor as yourself” (verse 39).

We all, ministers and members alike, have this command from Jesus Christ: “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48, NIV). That’s a high standard, one that we all fall short of. But we must never stop trying to achieve that standard, even to the end of this human age.

We are a small flock, but we have unbreakable and mighty promises from God Himself! As we all know, with God it’s not about our size or numbers. Through the inspired and unshakable Word of God, we know that we, like the apostle Paul, “can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13). That may be a familiar verse to us, but every word is true! Like the author of Hebrews wrote, we “have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise” (Hebrews 10:36). He speaks here of the return of Jesus Christ to establish the Kingdom of God on earth, the very message that we proclaim through the power of the Holy Spirit!

To achieve success as we move forward, we have this direction from James, the brother of Jesus: “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up” (James 4:10).

If this time indeed marks the end of a long and sore trial within the Church, we must be prepared to humbly learn from our mistakes, of where we have fallen short of the perfection that is the Father, and we must be prepared to move forward. We have much work before us. We believe that Jesus Christ has set before us an open door (Revelation 3:8)—a spiritual door that includes what we are doing through television, our printed publications and our online presence. This door leads to ways where we can powerfully preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and the Kingdom of God, using every tool available to us. This door leads to us becoming more like God the Father, becoming one with Him and Jesus Christ, by diligently and earnestly preparing ourselves for service, both here in this physical age and in the wonderful world tomorrow! People in the world should be able to see openly this hope that lies within us (1 Peter 3:15), and our own examples should serve as living testimony and proof of this divine hope (Matthew 5:16).

We maintain our founding belief and conviction that “in the multitude of counselors there is safety” (Proverbs 11:14). We believe and maintain that, coupled with spiritual maturity, our system of governance gives us powerful tools to move forward to accomplish the will of God. Under Jesus Christ’s direction, the General Conference of Elders remains in place to promote the stability of the Church. The Council of Elders remains in place to guide and direct the Church. The administration of the Church remains in place to fulfill the day-to-day operations of the Church as was originally designed and intended some 15 years ago. And, all these governing bodies are in place to edify and serve you, our precious brethren, and to preach the gospel.

Please be comforted in knowing that we will continue to provide pastors and shepherds so that you have a peaceful and spiritually nourishing home in which to worship on each Sabbath and Holy Day. You have multiple sites to choose from to attend and participate in the annual Feast of Tabernacles. Your children have summer and winter camps available, where they can learn the truths of God and how to apply them as they grow and mature. You have the Ambassador Bible Center, where members can attend to obtain in-depth knowledge of biblical truth. You have a vast array of literature—available in print or online in increasingly interactive formats—together with a growing Beyond Today program that is reaching thousands of new people on television and through the Internet.

And that, we believe with all of our being, is only the beginning. Moving forward, we believe that we are being prepared by Jesus Christ for growth. How and when that appears is up to God and the living Leader of this Church, Jesus Christ. We must ready ourselves in renewed prayer, deep meditation and earnest fasting.

As we prepare to advance, what are we to do as members—those called-out ones who make up the United Church of God? Read here the answer from the prophet Jeremiah: “This is what the Lord says: ‘Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it’” (Jeremiah 6:16, NIV).

Let us all rededicate ourselves to unity, to love for one another, to seeking and achieving God’s perfect will!

Sincerely, in Christ’s service,

Melvin Rhodes—Chairman, on behalf of the Council of Elders                                                Dennis Luker—President

December 23, 2010 - Posted by | Council of Elders, President's Office |

45 Comments »

  1. It is very sad for this to occur, I hope and pray that a reunification can and will take place. Mistakes have been made by both sides. I hope and pray that all elders from both sides will get together to work out their differences.
    As a minister once said “It will take machine guns and barbed wire for Gods people to unify”. I pray that all grown men can get together and straighten this out.

    Comment by Doug McKee | December 23, 2010 | Reply

    • Agreed. What is most disappointing is that because men cannot learn to work together when they have differences of opinion, we as members are going to be again forced to make a choice. I believe Jerimiah 23 and Eziekiel 34 were prophecies written about the prophets and shepherds of Israel. As elders and ministers, you should be asking if it was written about you. Shame on the ministers and elders of United Church of God and the new Church of God, Worldwide…shame on all of us.

      David.

      Comment by David | December 24, 2010 | Reply

  2. Sad as it may be that times have been so troubled…but would it be wrong to be thankful if the time was almost over? Let those who stand to the left…stand to the left. And those who choose to stand to the right…stand to the right. If that is the way it must be, then God’s will be done. May He guide us all on our individual journeys to the Kingdom through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.

    Comment by Marc Cebrian (Oakland Congregation) | December 23, 2010 | Reply

  3. Although I remain with UCG, as I voiced at a question and answer session recently, in a situation of this nature neither side is all wrong or all right. As such, both sides need to exhibit humility and a willingness to admit any wrong that they have done. It may not ever produce any kind of reconcilation, but it will show that we have God’s character and love for one another. Admitting any mistakes we have made with humility gives encouragement to all of us, and especially for the brethren who only desire a godly, loving and safe environment in which to fellowship. Only God is always right.

    Comment by kenneth Brannen | December 23, 2010 | Reply

  4. I trust in God the Father and Jesus Christ my Head and will stand on Their Side as long as I live. They redeemed me from the past trail of breakup from WCG and brought me to United. I am SO grateful for that. Christ promises NEVER to leave or forsake me. I
    promist NEVER to leave or forsake Him. We have the greatest work to do. Let’s do it!!

    Comment by Barbara Scheper | December 23, 2010 | Reply

  5. Thanks for spending the time to write this letter to the church. I assume that most members are like me in the sense that we do not have first-hand knowledge of the recent difficulties. I want to emulate the Berean attitude, searching out the matters put before me. I, like my brothers and sisters in Christ, am faced with the daunting task of sifting through various claims and counterclaims. Your letter mentions “irrefutable documentation” of complicity among ministers to undermine the structure of the church. That documentation would help me understand more clearly what has happened. Would it be possible to post this evidence for members of the church like me, who want to understand what is happening and why? Thank you.

    Comment by Bill Palmer | December 23, 2010 | Reply

    • Bill, I agree with your comment that it would be nice to have all the details on hand. As a human, I too am curious and want to see all the dirt. However, I also understand that there are legal and spiritual principles that UCG must obey. Legally, confidential information cannot be shared without discretion. Spiritually, satisfying our curiosity may not be worth shattering another man’s public reputation. And frankly, I think Mr. Rhodes & Lukers’ letter leaves very little to the imagination as to who was involved in what.

      Comment by M | December 24, 2010 | Reply

      • As I understand it, it seems that the leaders of the previous administration (and some others who are now stirring up strife) — realizing that their vision for the church’s direction had failed and was at odds with the majority of the council and ministry — were already planning and orchestrating a split while still holding their administrative office and employed by the church… long before any of these “facts” now being presented as evidence-for-a-split even occured.

        Comment by M | December 24, 2010 | Reply

      • These are valid points. From a spiritual perspective, issues need be dealt according to Biblical principles. It serves no purpose to tarnishing another individual’s reputation. In addition to the spiritual element, confidentially is also an important legal factor. Disclosure of information may be extremely difficult under many circumstances. The letters written have to take these factors into consideration before their release.

        Comment by Bill Dimovski | December 24, 2010 | Reply

    • I like the approach to weighing the evidence Prov 18:17. After looking at both sides the truth is obvious.

      If there is any doubt, God knows all and He is ready to reveal all to us if we ask. Matt 10:26. Let’s all pray for everyone involved during this difficult time.

      Comment by Rod Williams | December 24, 2010 | Reply

  6. It does not appear that those ministers who resigned had ANY concern on who they would hurt, e.g. the brethren and ABC students. It is sad they are so selfish! I don’t have any sympathy for them; but I pray for those innocent brethren they have hurt.

    Comment by Dean Hardester | December 23, 2010 | Reply

    • What a hasty and judgmental remark, Dean. Imputing motive is a dangerous game to play. You should also realize that your not having sympathy for anyone is not a Godly characteristic. What was is it that Christ said as He died on the cross? THAT is the attitude we must emulate, not a bitter and unforgiving one that leaves no room for sympathy for those YOU believe to be in the wrong.

      We each stand before God and give answer for OUR decisions, OUR attitudes, OUR judgments. How is it so easy for you to turn on those you once endorsed as ministers of God? Romans 8 asks, “Who shall bring charge against God’s elect?… Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died… who also makes intercession for us.?”

      As you work on the “speck” you believe to be in their eye: “those … had ANY concern on who they would hurt… It is sad they are so selfish!” please give attention to the plank in your own eye, “those ministers who resigned had ANY concern on who they would hhurt… It is sad they are so selfish!”

      Oh and please don’t forgot Christ’s lesson on throwing stones. What is He writing in the sand before each one of us?

      Comment by Suzanne Morgan | December 24, 2010 | Reply

  7. What a beautiful letter from God’s true people.

    Comment by Belinda Leihn | December 23, 2010 | Reply

  8. (Things I love)

    1) My God, for loving me no matter what I do.
    2) My Savior Jesus Christ, who died for me to save me from myself.
    3) My church, for being there to instruct and teach me God’s Holy truth.
    4) My Wife for loving me forever and putting her faith in me.
    5) My family for giving me all their love and understanding.

    These things listed above are all a man really needs to survive in this world. Love, is the answer to all of man’s worldly problems and even the hardest of all man’s problems, ones regarding conflicts within the body in Christ and all its Brothers and Sisters. Love is always the answer and Our “Love” for each other trump’s all things and even more importantly our “Holy Fathers Love”, for us trump’s all things great and small.

    (The Brotherly and Sisterly love we show to one another and also the love for our (Father God) and his Son (Jesus Christ) shows the rest of the world were the light of love and truth comes from the minds and hearts of his people.)

    Comment by Mark McGhee | December 24, 2010 | Reply

  9. I have been member since 1975. When the “change” in 1995 came, we, my family and I and some friends, stayed in the WCG. We all were kicked off, because we had been too critical.
    We then visited some dominations: so called “free churches” and “pentecostals”. A very close friend, who joined immediatly after the “changes” the UCG told me, that we shouldn’t look at people, but to the message.
    So we did. Since 2007 we are back at the UCG and still see many mistakes (… whoh will throw the first stone..), but we know, the truth is being preached in this church.
    We don’t understand what happens in ones minds always to seek faults with the other persons.
    Why don’t “such” people pray for wisdom, for intervenence by our Heavenly Father. Jesus made the following statement: See Matthew 13:24-30.
    The only way I see so far is stated in these verses.
    Brethren, let’s pray eagerly, do we stop writing e-mails etc., let us stop discussing endlessly, let us try to keep our own household clean!
    In christian love, Manfred from Austria.

    Comment by Manfred Meier | December 24, 2010 | Reply

    • Thank you Manfred. I’m at Church to worship God.

      Comment by Robert - Long-time member- since 1968 | December 25, 2010 | Reply

    • Hi, Manfred! Remember me? I lived in Germany 1982-1984, attended the Munich congregation, and sometimes visited Austria. I have been in United since 1996. I am glad to read that you and your family returned to the faith once delivered. Stay strong and keep the faith! – Basil

      Comment by Basil Kopey | December 31, 2010 | Reply

  10. The most amazing thing that will come from this. It is WE HAVE ALREADY WON! I mean “we” by God’s faithful. God knows all hearts, he knows how faithfully ALL of us have tried to serve Him. He knows EXACTLY what each one of us needs to become more perfect. That road may not be the same for each person. But the end result will be God’s Kingdom, if HE has anything to say about it. God WILL NOT LOSE ONE OF HIS PRECIOUS CHILDREN. I would never want to be tried by fire in the end time, but even if one is tried by fire, it’s for their own perfecting so they won’t miss out on God’s kingdom. So, we must understand how important it is to suffer for the perfecting of the saints.
    No matter what “side” (I hate to say it that way) you may choose, in the end, GOD HAS ALREADY WON! He will make sure all of His servants make it one way or other.
    May all Glory and Honor and Praise go to Our Father and Jesus Christ in Heaven!

    Comment by Randall R. Foshee | December 24, 2010 | Reply

  11. (Things I love)

    1) My God, for loving me no matter what I do.
    2) My Savior Jesus Christ, who died for me to save me from myself.
    3) My church, for being there to instruct and teach me God’s Holy truth.
    4) My Wife for loving me forever and putting her faith in me.
    5) My family for giving me all their love and understanding.

    These things listed above are all a man really needs to survive in this world. The Love, of (God) and the (Love) of each other is the answer to all of man’s worldly problems and even the hardest of all man’s problems, ones regarding conflicts within the body in Christ and its Brothers and Sisters. Love is always the answer and our own (Love) for each other trumps all our problems and even more importantly our (Holy Fathers Love) for us trump’s all things great and small.

    (The Brotherly and Sisterly love) we show to one another and the (love) we show to our (Father God) and his Son (Jesus Christ) demonstrates to the rest of the world were the light of (Truth and Love) comes from. This love comes from our (God) which he has given to us through his (Grace) and is then imprinted in the (hearts and minds) of his people so to guide and inspire the world.

    I Corinthians 13:13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity (love), these three; but the greatest of these is charity (love).

    Comment by Mark McGhee | December 24, 2010 | Reply

  12. Nosotros en Latinoamérica hemos vivido laq crisis un poco adelantada my por ello entendemos lo que se sufre hoy día, pero sabemos que tenemos un Dios que no es permisivo con el hombre, el pone las reglas claras desde un principio y nosotros sabemos que “Toda autoridad viene de Dios”, por lo tanto cualquier cualquier desacato excepto por quebrantar los mandamientos, es un pecado ante Dios, Animo hombres de Dios,
    ¡ánimo Consejo de ancianos, ánimo sr. Presidente!

    http://unidalatina.wordpress.com/2010/12/22/crisis-en-tiempos-de-moises/

    Comment by Latinoamérica On-line | December 24, 2010 | Reply

    • For some reason I was unable to copy and paste the above comment into Google translator.

      To save the next person some time who may experience the same copy and paste difficulty. And like myself, would like to understand what Latinoamerica On-Line is saying, here is the Googlized version:

      “We have lived in Latin America laq crisis a bit early so my understand what we are suffering today, but we know that we have a god that is not permissive man, makes the rules clear from the beginning and we know that “all authority comes from God “, thus excluding any any contempt for violating the commandments, is a sin before God, I encourage men of God, ianimo council of elders, encourage sr. President!”

      Note: I don’t have a latin keyboard so the word “ianimo” didn’t translate. Whether it is a typo on their part or the lack of an accented “a” on mine, I cant’ tell.

      Comment by Norbert | December 25, 2010 | Reply

  13. 1. We in America have lived through the crisis a bit early, so we understand what we are suffering today, but we know we have a God that is not permissive man, makes the rules clear from the beginning and we know that “All authority comes from God, “so any any except contempt for violating the commandments, is a sin before God, I encourage men of God
    Council of Elders spirit, courage sr. President!

    http://unidalatina.wordpress.com/2010/12/22/crisis-en-tiempos-de-moises/

    Comment by Latinoamérica On-line | December 24, 2010 | Reply

  14. HI: I Am Julie and I am not a member of your church. I do have a close friend in the UCG and have downloaded some booklets. It looks like your church is having problems. May I make a suggestion? About two weeks ago my friend asked me to listen to a sermon by one of your preachers. It is on commitment. His name is Greg Thomas from Ohio, I think. I found it in your sermon section. The message is wonderful and changed my life while learning about ancient Joseph. God bless all of you and your church.

    Comment by Julie Jonas | December 24, 2010 | Reply

  15. Once again: What I don’t get is why these ministers don’t just use their own system they originally set up to vote (excuse me, ballot by consensus) — once again: to vote the people on the council whom they don’t want and consequently the president they don’t like out of office. That was their original excuse for setting up their new form of government in 1995 — so “no one man will ever again be in charge that can’t be removed.” Can someone please explain that to me!

    Comment by Robert - Long-time member- since 1968 | December 24, 2010 | Reply

  16. Thank you for writing this letter. It is greatly disappointing to see the extent some individuals will resort to slander and post misinformation. Through the use of facebook and other tabloid forums/blogs accusations without basis are made. Some of these individuals hide under pseudo names displaying no shame in their comments – so much for courage and integrity. With recent events we are seeing the true colours and intentions of various individuals. People want information but look at the fruits instead. It is the COE and administration that has been vilified. They had the foresight to make difficult but necessary decisions. Instead of working through the framework of the governing documents some individuals have attempted to undermine them. We should be thankful for the leadership we have. Our prayers are needed that our Heavenly Father will grant them the discernment and wisdom in the upcoming days, weeks and months ahead.

    Comment by Bill Dimovski | December 24, 2010 | Reply

  17. Thank you! Thank you! May God continue to lead you and the church. Have a uplifting and blessed Sabbath.

    Comment by Karen Bullerwell | December 24, 2010 | Reply

  18. The Kingdom may come sooner than most think! God is separating out his people at this time in preparation for correcting the Latter Day Pharisees in great tribulation. Many of them will repent in the furnace of affliction; while the faithful will have their own trials of a different nature in the wilderness. Things will become clearer soon!

    Comment by Robert - Long-time member- since 1968 | December 25, 2010 | Reply

  19. Please, please, please — you ministers read Ezekial 34. Please stop it. I really do hope and pray that no members follow you. Maybe it will help you to find out what it is like to have to get a job in the world where you have to ask an unconverted employer for the Sabbath and Holy Days off. The brethern are not your merchandise.

    Comment by Robert - Long-time member- since 1968 | December 25, 2010 | Reply

    • Amen to that!

      Comment by Hope | December 25, 2010 | Reply

  20. In Bible study this morning I was drawn to Revelation 2:4-5: “Yet I hold this agaist you: You have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first….”

    If our “first love” was for any church organization or human leader, was it not in the wrong place?

    All of us (apparently including ministers) need to reassess where our true love is, and where it belongs — with Jesus Christ.

    Comment by Richard | December 25, 2010 | Reply

  21. Amen :-)

    Comment by Armida | December 25, 2010 | Reply

  22. It’s the height of folly, vanity and self-idolatry for any human being — or any group of human beings — to think that they can manufacture something in rebellion apart from God, as a means of worshiping the true God. “Rebellion” as in defying or resisting established authority, government or tradition.

    Comment by Robert - Long-time member- since 1968 | December 26, 2010 | Reply

  23. for me it is an amazing letter you write, as I had no previous knowledge (other than the event with Leon Walker) of such divisive goings-on. your plea is well taken, and you have my kindest regards and desire for your well-being. may you survive better than Global did.

    Comment by James E. Mortensen | December 26, 2010 | Reply

  24. It is sweet to know that the Council is now in one accord.
    Their eyes are puffy from crying over their wayward brothers. Their knees are black from kneeling in prayer for their change of heart.They covered their brothers’ sins and did not accuse even when they were accused. No where in the letters from the Council did they accuse, name call or impute motive.
    They showed us members a great example Romans 5: 7-8 in that they were willing to lay down their lives for those who wronged them.
    (For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.)
    Yes you have certainly shown us your true leadership of service and humility …even giving your cloak to those who would depart.
    Thanks

    Comment by lonestar | December 26, 2010 | Reply

    • The above statement “grievous state of mind” is not an imputing motives?

      Comment by Rod Williams | December 26, 2010 | Reply

  25. When United’s government was first formulated in 1995, the men who are now staging a division agreed to support the consensus of the general conference. This is what the current rebellion is about. They are not willing to accept the consensus of the majority. This is not about advice given regarding the Sabbath, Chile or the Latino brethren – these items were added to their agenda to justify their actions to the Church membership in an attempt pull followers away. Why? So they will have the financial support they need for their new organization. Don’t buy into their division. It’s not 1995. There is no apostasy. Yes, many of these men are men we love. That doesn’t mean that Satan cannot deceive them. Once again: It’s the height of folly, vanity and self-idolatry for any human being — or any group of human beings — to think that they can manufacture something in rebellion apart from God, as a means of worshiping the true God. “Rebellion” as in defying or resisting established authority, government or tradition. Please read Ezekiel 34. Don’t follow these men. Don’t overreact. God does not work this way. Sincerely, your brother in Christ. Robert

    Comment by Robert - Long-time member- since 1968 | December 27, 2010 | Reply

    • I understand how you feel Robert, but please remember these are still our brothers and sisters in Christ. If they wish to go…let them. Remember what Gamaliel said in Acts 5:38-39 “And now I say unto you, Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought: But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God.” — It is of no matter how or why they choose to leave…let God judge their hearts. We should all be ready to accept them back into the sheepfold if they so choose…with open arms. We must continue to show love to them…even if they do not return it. We do that for the Lord because that is how he wants us to be.

      Comment by Marc Cebrian (Oakland Congregation) | December 28, 2010 | Reply

  26. I have been asking for the irrefutable documentation for 2 days and my posts are being deleted. I am just concerned and trying to find answers but when you do not answer me and delete my posts it makes me suspicious. Thank you.

    Comment by Tracy | December 27, 2010 | Reply

    • I am not sure that information will be made public. But I would suggest you call the home office and request it. At this point, it seems fruitless to argue and ask for details. The problem is so wide at this point, perhaps all of us should just forgive and move on with our lives. Doing a “he said, she said” in our church is not good…and does not spread the Gospel. It is unfortunate if your messages are being deleted. No message should be deleted…no matter which side of the disagreement somebody is on. If we all speak in love, then everyone’s voice should be heard.

      Comment by Marc Cebrian (Oakland Congregation) | December 28, 2010 | Reply

      • One must be careful to have such an attitude as “everyone’s voice should be heard.”
        Those are sentiments of a democratic belief system.
        God is not a democratic person. We are to submit to Him, and in time, we shall learn the answers to our questions, at which time, we can rightly divine what we have learned without malice or hatred or prejudice. As humans, that is an almost impossible thing to do!
        God has His own time table. We must “wait on the Lord” in all things. So, we must learn patience and not demand anything of Him. He will reveal Himself in good time to those who will wait.
        He has given us instruction on how to think and act. He has shown us true religion.
        James 1:27 Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.
        It is our duty to ask ourselves,”Are we doing this?”
        Read every word carefully. “…keep oneself UNSPOTTED FROM THE WORLD.”
        What would the world do in this case? They are into gossip like never before in the history of the world. They take anyone they wish and shred them before man. What’s left is only a shell. Why do you wish for these “documents”? Is it with this same heart that the world possesses? Only you can answer that. What good would come from these “documents”. If not 100% good, is it worth reading them to fill a lust you may have within you, or me?
        It is man’s nature (carnal) to want to know things, then sooner or later, it gets passed on. When such information is “passed on” what is the end result? Does it build up? Does it edify? Does it help the brethren? Or does it tear down, degrade, exalt oneself, reduce the party being spoken of?
        This is a perfect time to begin examining ourselves and asking these questions in light of the next set of Holy Days that are coming. Make sure you have a pure heart come this spring.

        Comment by Randall Foshee | December 28, 2010 | Reply

        • Respectfully, Mr. Foshee, please notice that I did state “if we all speak in love, then everyone’s voice should be heard.” On this forum, let anyone speak freely if of love. “By their fruits, you shall know them.” Words from the heart can often expose the heart itself…right? So, if someone comes here to speak ill…let them. I would hope a true converted Christian would not do such a thing…but let them anyhow. It seems more “suspicious” to me if someone decides to delete a post because they take issue with it. Yes, we should separate ourselves from the world…but wanting facts is not always carnal and of the world. I, personally, don’t need to see the documentation that PROVES anything. I will take Mr. Luker and Mr. Rhodes at their word. If I am shown to be the fool, then that is between them and God. (Much like my opinion about giving money to the homeless…if they buy alcohol instead of food, at that point, that is between them and God.) — The fact remains…we will never “get to the bottom” of what has transpired in 2010. We should put down this distraction…return to spreading the Gospel and continue to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling. I pray that Mr. Luker and the COE put this issue to bed, forgive, move on and pray for those who have chosen to leave. If we are to love our enemies…how much moreso our brothers and sisters in Christ? – We all need to put away the anger and frustration this situation has caused…love one another…seek God always…forgive freely. I pray that all of us are spiritually stronger because of this trial…and we appreciate with greater intensity, the love God has for us…and that we show that love to one another. :)

          Comment by Marc Cebrian (Oakland Congregation) | December 28, 2010

  27. Thank you Marc. You are kind. My reply to you was deleted. I hope you got to read it, if not I saved it and can email it to you if you want. I am a polite person on these kinds of forums because there are two sides and I have many friends that are still in UCG. Have a great day!

    Comment by Tracy | December 28, 2010 | Reply

    • I did not read it nor did I get a notice. I am sorry your comments are being deleted…and I am not sure I understand why. Perhaps those words were not meant for my eyes. Maybe the moderator feels they are “off topic” or something. — Soon, this situation will be put to rest and we can go about our lives doing what we can to glorify God.

      Comment by Marc Cebrian (Oakland Congregation) | December 28, 2010 | Reply

  28. When United’s government was first formulated in 1995, the men who are now staging a division agreed to support the consensus of the general conference. This is what the current rebellion is about. They are not willing to accept the consensus of the majority. This is not about the Sabbath, Chile or the Latino brethren – these items were added to their agenda to justify their actions to the Church membership in an attempt pull followers away. Why? So they will have the financial support they need for their new organization. Don’t buy into their division. It’s not 1995. There is no apostasy. Yes, many of these men are men we love. That doesn’t mean that Satan cannot deceive them. It’s the height of folly, vanity and self-idolatry for any human being — or any group of human beings — to think that they can manufacture something in rebellion apart from God, as a means of worshiping the true God. “Rebellion” as in defying or resisting established authority, government or tradition. Please read Ezekiel 34. Don’t follow these men. Don’t overreact. God does not work this way. Your brother in Christ. Robert

    Comment by Robert - Long-time member- since 1968 | December 29, 2010 | Reply

  29. [...] the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth? (Luke 18:8b, NIV) According to the latest “re-assurance” 1 from the United Church of God leadership, “they recognize the faith…that is being [...]

    Pingback by HOMELESS IN YOUR CITY? | Sword of Joshua | January 7, 2011 | Reply


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