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Chairman and President Write August 4 Letter

August 4, 2010

Dear Ministers and Brethren,

For the next six weeks or so, observant Jews are expected to actively engage in a centuries-old tradition leading up to the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur), frequently called a “Sabbath of Sabbaths” and the holiest of all days observed in Judaism. In the weeks that precede the Holy Day, that long-time tradition requires Jews to reach out to those they have offended or harmed and seek both forgiveness and reconciliation. On the Day of Atonement, observant Jews spend hours in a synagogue or in prayer, seeking to be reconciled with both God and man.

We who are called to be part of the spiritual Body of Christ must practice this daily. In the prayer that Christ Himself gave us to use as a model, we are told to pray in this manner: “Forgive us our debts [sins], as we forgive our debtors [those who sin against us personally]” (Matthew 6:12). Christ Himself set the example for us, praying even as He was dying, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do” (Luke 23:34). Christ is our sacrifice for sin once and for all. But the living Head of this Church was very clear: You will be forgiven to the same extent that you forgive others. Just as Jesus was merciful, so shall you be merciful.

Forgiveness sets the stage for real reconciliation. Reconciliation requires that both sides lay down their weapons, lay aside their hurts and resentments—real or imagined—and exercise real love one for other. Reconciliation doesn’t mean that differences are papered over. Reconciliation means tolerance, restored trust and honest communication.

Ministers and brethren, the Council of Elders would like nothing more than to see sincere reconciliation. None of us wanted to see what happened in Latin America happen. We grieve for the members there who have been subjected to spiritual and emotional buffeting—in some cases for years. It is not pretty, and only the divine gift of love from God can truly heal this breach. Tempers have flared and accusations have been hurled by many people within our fellowship.

As we approach the spiritual high point of the year for us—Trumpets, Atonement, the Feast of Tabernacles and the Last Great Day—can we be reconciled? Members of the Council of Elders and senior administrators of the Church have spent countless hours talking and communicating openly with ministers and members alike to achieve reconciliation. Where possible, we have avoided airing the “dirty laundry” involved with certain individuals.

Despite all of this, we still read or hear unmitigated reports of vile and unfounded accusations—both online and in person—using language and insults that never should be part of Christian communication.

As saddening and sometimes discouraging as this is, we still have the unwavering promise that through Christ, His Church will prevail!

During this season of spiritual preparation, while we should be focused on the wonderful and inspiring meaning of the upcoming Holy Days, we now see online a previously secret Web site. On the surface, this Web site purports to be a communication vehicle for the General Conference of Elders. The organizers of this Web site make claims that they are seeking reconciliation. The organizers of the Web site have been quietly approaching ministers across the world, asking them to support the spiritual principles which they purpose to achieve.

We support those same principles, and there is certainly nothing wrong with that. What is wrong is when the organizers, by clever and manipulative wording, imply and lead others to believe that the Council of Elders and administration lack the desire and have made no effort toward that goal. In fact the opposite is true. The former senior administrator in Latin America was asked at least twice to meet with members of the Council of Elders and Church administrators. In addition, other direct communication is ongoing with several ministers in the region.

While the appeal posted on this formerly secret Web site is addressed to the full Council of Elders, we—Dennis Luker as president of the Church, and Melvin Rhodes, chairman of the Council of Elders—want to address these issues now. The full Council of Elders will meet later in August, and a formal response may come at that time.

Ministers and brethren, let’s be clear here. We want nothing more than true unity and reconciliation! We don’t doubt for a minute that the great majority of those who have agreed to add their names to the online appeal for reconciliation are sincere. Certainly we all want reconciliation!

But when we see among the signers the names of a number who have made and distributed unfounded attacks and accusations against the Council, some who have publicly and privately slandered Council members to their congregations and to other elders, some who have tried to organize efforts to recall certain Council members whom they accuse of “unethical” behavior (for which they have offered zero evidence), and some who are actively supporting a developing breakaway organization designed to draw members from the United Church of God—we clearly doubt their stated lofty intentions. (The fact that these words may come as an unpleasant shock to many of you reading this represents evidence that we have chosen not to respond to their actions in kind. The fact remains that we have tried to be patient in the hope that those who slander and speak falsely will repent.)

Let’s call a spade a spade. In the outside world, forums of this nature are rightly called a political caucus. The purpose of a political caucus is two-fold: Marshal resources to achieve a specific political goal, and draw in as many as possible to support that goal. To the organizers of that Web site we say this: Is your purpose to reconcile, or is your purpose to divide and conquer? To be sure, God will be your Judge!

To you well-meaning ministers who have been drawn in by this seemingly well-intentioned effort—and again, we fully respect and share your desire for true unity and reconciliation—do you know what you are doing? Do you realize that by participating you are unknowingly aiding efforts to undermine the very governmental structure that we all, before God, agreed to some 15 years ago?

Ministers and brethren, please be assured that this is as hard to write as we’re sure it is to read. Ministers are called by God to be peacemakers, to teach, to guide, to shepherd and most importantly to serve.

We would like nothing more than to reconcile with as many ministers and members in Latin America as possible—those who want to be with us. We have had several sound, spiritually mature, Spanish-speaking men traveling in Latin America for weeks now. Those men have been meeting with any and all who are willing. Yet they have been rejected with hostility by some who out of the other side of their mouth “seek” reconciliation.

Those sent by the administration, with support from the Council, have been helping members and elders who want to remain part of the United Church of God to meet safely for Sabbath services, free of politics and heavy-handed rule. We have been working with them to set up Feast sites where they can meet and celebrate with us the wonderful promise of Jesus Christ’s coming reign on earth. We have continued to financially support those who want to be part of us. They have not been cut off.

Meanwhile, the former UCG administrator of the Latin American region claims that he was independent all along, that he does not recognize any spiritual or managerial authority from the president, the home office or the Council, and has openly compared our ministers to Satan, who “appears as an angel of light.” Some ministers who now follow him have used far worse language in describing loyal ministers and members of the Council of Elders.

At the same time, these same individuals issue moving and emotional appeals for help and support, accusing the Council of Elders of doing nothing to promote “reconciliation”!

Given this onslaught of unfortunate and distorted comments coming from Latin America, we will shortly make available a more detailed summary of recent events since the July 1 update that we previously made available. As you desire, you will soon be able to access it on the Members site (members.ucg.org) or request a copy. This is not our first choice, as we have actively sought to achieve reconciliation without bringing this often-ugly truth out for all to see. Since our desire to achieve repentance and reconciliation has been interpreted by some as an unwillingness to act, we will now speak openly.

Ministers and brethren, both of us have served in other pastoral and administrative roles before assuming our current positions. Dennis Luker served as a regional pastor for the northwest United States. Melvin Rhodes served brethren in Africa. For years we both heard whispers and smooth accusations against certain current Council members from certain men whose names appear on this new online document. The men on that list know who they are. We submit to you that our current crisis is the result of listening to that smoldering resentment, of allowing a root of spiritual bitterness to take hold, and to now hide behind proxies and assumed online names to try and divide the very Church of God!

As we mentioned before, we don’t doubt the sincerity of many who—regardless of the communication platform—call for unity and reconciliation. We join with you. But on our watch—as being directly accountable spiritually to Jesus and God His Father—we will not mince words, nor will we shy from any action needed when we see attempts to divide, to split those who want to fellowship together, to rend asunder what God calls His own!

This is serious business. It takes work to reconcile. It takes honesty. And it takes a sincere willingness to yield to God, be patient and turn this over to the living Head of this Church. Once we do that, we can have a real spirit of forgiveness, which is the foundation for true reconciliation.

Over the past year, we have heard this comment many times from members: “Why are you ministers fighting? We don’t want your political battles. We want to be able to come to church, worship God and be supported in our daily lives. Stop fighting!” We couldn’t agree more.

We would like to close this with two thoughts: First, true change results when God mercifully grants that His spirit transform our human spirit, our thoughts and our actions. Hopefully we have all experienced this change in our lives. Second, God knows our weaknesses and our frail frame. He knows that we are tempted, that we can fail and that we will fall short. That’s why He sent His Son to stand in the breach and reconcile us with Him.

That means that at any time, at any moment, we have the spiritual capacity to reach out, to change, to repent, to forgive and finally to reconcile. Nothing is impossible with God. Can we believe this?

That means that even now, as emotions run high, we can individually yield to God’s spirit, invite the living Christ to live in us, and find a way out of this crisis. It has happened before, and it can happen again.

To seek this divine and powerful healing, in our individual roles we are joining together to call a fast for the Church for the weekend of August 21-22. Some of you may choose to fast on the Sabbath and others may choose to fast on the following day. Either way please set aside that weekend for intensive prayer, meditation and focused Bible study. Please ask God to give us all a spirit of humility, repentance and unity. Please renew the very prayer of Christ on the night before His crucifixion, when He prayed for protection for all of us and asked God His Father that “You should keep them from the evil one” (John 17:15).

Let us truly forgive. Let us truly seek reconciliation. Let us abandon all efforts to divide—whether online or elsewhere—and draw together to accomplish the work that we have been given to do.

In Christian Love,

Dennis Luker, President and Melvin Rhodes, Chairman of the Council of Elders

August 4, 2010 - Posted by | Council of Elders, General Conference of Elders, Home Office, President's Office |

54 Comments »

  1. WE PRAY GOD OUR FATHER WILL PUT HIS LOVING ARMS AROUND HIS BEGOTTEN ONES AND KEEP US UNITED STRIVING TO FINISH THE WORK HE HAS GIVEN US TO DO.HE HAS SAID THERE WILL BE FALSE PROPHETS AMONG SO LETS STAND STRONG AND GO FORWARD SEEKING
    GOD’S HELP AND OVERCOME TO THE END.

    Comment by Alvah P yle | August 4, 2010 | Reply

  2. Thank you for this message. It saddens me that this is happening and I hope your words make people stop and think about where their hearts lie.

    Comment by Lorelei Nettles | August 4, 2010 | Reply

  3. May the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the Almighty God of the Bible, our only true God, grant us the peace and unity we need in this moment of trial. Thank you.

    Comment by Ramon Soto | August 4, 2010 | Reply

  4. Can comments be posted on this website?

    Comment by Kris Kobernat | August 4, 2010 | Reply

    • I dont think so

      Comment by Mike Moore | August 6, 2010 | Reply

  5. I believe that out of fairness and transparency, you should post the letter from the elders that spirred this response.
    Thank you,
    Concerned member,
    Jerry D Ross

    Comment by Jerry Ross | August 4, 2010 | Reply

    • I would respectfully ask (in response to this comment): Why is it the responsibility of Messrs. Luker and Rhodes to post this letter (from some elders)? This letter was posted to a website that requires a user-name and password. While it claims it is for members of the GCE to consider — and provides a method for them to “sign-on” if they so desire — there has been no general announcement (as of this writing) to all elders that informs them of the user-name and password. Maybe the authors of the letter should be queried about fairness and transparency (although we do not even know who the authors are), at least towards all members of the GCE. At the very least, the question should be answered: “Why were some elders provided information to access the website and other elders were not?”

      In the meantime, since this letter has now been posted on public websites, I appreciate the initiative of Messrs. Luker and Rhodes for providing a strong, timely, encouraging and informative response.

      May God in His mercy grant all of us more time and insight to see His lead through the Holy Spirit, that we may see our wrongs, correct them, and move forward together.

      Comment by Matthew Fenchel | August 5, 2010 | Reply

  6. This is a very sad day and extremely trying for the Church of God. Why are we waiting so long for a church-wide fast? We need this resolved, like now! Let’s all look to God, coming together with humility, without having to drag anyone else through the dirt. This should not be about he said, she said, but rather forgiving so that we may be forgiven and preparing as the bride of Christ!!!

    Comment by Natalie | August 4, 2010 | Reply

    • Natalie, Please remember that not all members have internet access. This letter was posted only yesterday and if it was snail mailed yesterday as well, it won’t appear in people’s mailboxes until mid to late next week (August 12-13) and that’s in the US, not the International areas. That gives a week for brethren to change schedules, etc. before the fast.

      Comment by Deborah | August 6, 2010 | Reply

  7. Thank you gentlemen for your heartfelt letter. It is time to get the truth out to the members and minister. The terrible events which have been occurring over the past few months, under the guise of seeking reconciliation have lead to the unrest of the brethren. I personally am very tired of the false accusations. I have been sick over the ungodly acts of ministers and members. It is time for everyone to focus on God, through fasting and prayer in order to fear god so that their actions are pleasing to Him. I pray and will gladly fast for true reconciliation and for all who have promoted disunity to repent.

    Comment by Dianne Clark | August 4, 2010 | Reply

  8. Its good to see Gods Spirit working in you Mr Luker…

    Comment by Neil McIver | August 4, 2010 | Reply

  9. WE are the body of Christ. When the body is attacked by any one we all feel the pain no matter who we are or where we are ,we are the body of the living head of this church.Jesus Christ.

    Comment by Howard Warren | August 4, 2010 | Reply

  10. This is an excellent letter. Let us hope and pray that the efforts of Satan to divide us and to accuse faithful and loyal ministers and members fails, and that we can dwell in peace and harmony together.

    Comment by Nathan Albright | August 4, 2010 | Reply

  11. Thanks for your words, I am peruvian woman , who lived in Santiago – Chile, We are very sad for this situacion, our sons and daugthers are confused for this.
    and one of things that let to this confusion is the language. and I am suggeste please always translate the documents
    Don!t forget this .. not all people have Internet access, but more so speak or read English.
    God bless

    Comment by ELISA CHAVEZ | August 4, 2010 | Reply

  12. My husband and I just read the letter to the ministery and brethren.
    Well written, and with God’s help what you are asking of all of us, will come about! Nothing is impossible for God!
    Unity intails so much… God HAS to be CLOSE to US at ALL TIMES!
    Thanks to all the ministry and brethren that ‘take it to heart’ this message of reconciliation. Yes, this is a very serious matter.
    May all of our hearts and minds be opened to God’s way; which is LOVE.

    Comment by Helen Braman | August 4, 2010 | Reply

  13. May God continue to lead and guide you all during this trying time. You are all in my prayers, for God to protect you, guide you, keep you safe and to keep satan away while you do the will of our Lord and saviour Christ Jesus. Stand strong!! May God’s angels surround you and watch over all of you and your families.

    Comment by Trish | August 4, 2010 | Reply

  14. Why the other side of the coin doesn´t count?

    Comment by Cinthya Urquidi | August 4, 2010 | Reply

  15. We serve an ALL POWERFUL FATHER, THE ANCIENT OF DAYS, together with HIS HOLY ONE, THE SON OF MAN, THE SON OF G-D, THE BANNER FOR ALL NATIONS, who will listen to us if we take words from a tender heart, graced with humility, and seek their face through prayer and fasting and through reading and meditation of the Holy Scriptures to that end that they may come and dwell in our presence by the gift of G-d, that Holy Spirit of promise, which will give to us a settled peace and our Father’s love shed abroad in our hearts and which will teach us all things and guide us into all truth and show us things to come, the Holy Spirit will glorify the Son of man for the Holy Spirit shall receive of His and will show it unto us, as all things that the Father has is His, therefore says He, that He shall take of His and shall show it unto us (Jn. 14:22-31; 15:25-27; 16:7-16). BLESSED BE THE SON OF G-D, THE CAPTAIN AND FIRSTFRUIT OF OUR SALVATION AND BLESSED BE OUR ABBA, OUR FATHER, THE ANCIENT OF DAYS, BOTH, ENTHRONED IN THEIR HOLY PLACE OF GLORY, THE PARADISE OF G-D, IN THE PRESENCE OF THEIR HOLY ANGELS WHO COME AND GO AT THEIR COMMAND, AND BLESSED BE THE SAINTS, THE FIRSTFRUITS, UNTO OUR FATHER AND TO THE LAMB OF G-D, AS WE ENDURE UNTO THE END, FOR OUR REDEMPTION IS EVEN AT THE DOOR. “Who among you FEARS the LORD? Who obeys the voice of His Servant (the Son of God)? Who walks in DARKNESS and has no LIGHT? LET HIM TRUST IN THE NAME OF THE L-RD AND RELY UPON HIS G-D. (The Son of man then says), “LOOK, ALL YOU WHO KINDLE A FIRE, WHO ENCIRCLE YOURSELVES WITH SPARKS, WALK IN THE LIGHT OF YOUR FIRE AND IN THE SPARKS YOU HAVE KINDLED, THIS YOU SHALL HAVE FROM MY HAND, YOU SHALL LIE DOWN IN TORMENT (Isa. 50:10-11).”

    As you have said Mr. Luker, this is serious business – our Father’s business and our High Priest’s business and they will search and discover the intents of each of our hearts. Satan is rejoicing because he knows that our Father’s children MUST have love for one another shed abroad in our hearts through the Holy Spirit in order that we may go on to perfection and accomplishing His Work – We will finish His work.

    Comment by dwight s. stewart | August 4, 2010 | Reply

    • Well written– but why do you leave out the “o” in God/Lord? Just curious….

      Comment by Kelli | August 5, 2010 | Reply

  16. Wow, I’m impressed.

    Comment by Kevin Hadley | August 5, 2010 | Reply

  17. As distressing as this situation is, it is actually encouraging. Let me explain. I was a strong supporter of UCG from day one, but yet it has been a number of years since I’ve visited UCC because of the exact situation that is now being dealt with.

    It is good to see humble and Godly men following the lead of God. Maybe the healing and reconciliation can start to occur for the many 1000s that left (or were ejected from) UCG due to ministers that were not humble.

    Personally I see these events as hopeful, when I had all but lost hope that UCG could grow in the Love of God and provide true shepherds, not hirelings for God’s flock.

    The sermon by Mr. Luker where he quoted and highlighted – John 13:34-35 “I give a new commandment to you, that you should love one another; according as I loved you, you should also love one another. (35) By this all shall know that you are My disciples, if you have love among one another.” was extremely encouraging.

    This is the verse I quoted to a friend the day I walked out of UCG, because the sermon that day was on the meaning of discipleship, but was completely void of even any mention of love.

    It is humbling to see how we have all come short of the glory of God.

    May we all heal and be reconciled as we learn the love that God and Jesus have for us.

    Comment by Wesley B | August 5, 2010 | Reply

  18. Dear all, let us remember and count our blessings. United came as a fresh drink of water in a spiritual desert for all of us. We are under the attack of the great deceiver, but we must not forget the love that we have for each other. We must strive to focus only in the positive aspects of this problem: The appeal asked for a fast and it was granted. Let us fast togeather as a Church, and let us all come humbly before our God to ask for His forgiveness and for His deliverance from this difficult trial.

    Comment by Blanca Roybal | August 5, 2010 | Reply

  19. Dear Esteemed Brethren,

    I feel compelled to write, to say “well said”. This letter, from the two of you, I know was inspired by God and the support of many who have been praying diligently for solidarity to take hold of the UCGIA. Now no one can say “the President and COE do not even acknowledge our letters…”. We KNOW you, Mr. Luker and the COE, have been struggling to reconcile behind the scene with those who truly desire to be with us. With regard to the Ministry, like you clearly said, decided on this form of Church organization some 15 years ago and to be part of it. It is saddly apparent, at this time, there are those who evidently by their words and behavior do not want reconciliation with UCGIA. I think when I say Thank YOU for saying what you’ve said here, I speak for many. We can always be thanking our Father for His spirit which leads us to good fruits and into all truth (plus much more). By allowing some two weeks to prepare and focus for the prayer & fasing, there’ll be time for ALL in the church, both in UCGIA and those sympathetic to the plight in this flock, to be included. This is a problem Church-wide. Reconciliation to each other, in Christ! “Those who are led by the spirit of God, these are the sons of God”, right – everyone reading this? This is being about our Father’s business…building HIS Family. That’s why we are ALL Here, right? Those who desire to join in, will join in. May His love, wisdom and peace be with us all.

    Comment by Ray Roberts | August 5, 2010 | Reply

  20. we are trying to understand what is going on,each side ia always right,blaming each other,sounds typical of politics,we our watching how all of this is going to work out. Ron

    Comment by Roxanna Yost | August 5, 2010 | Reply

  21. I have on my calendar that the next Council of Elders meeting is scheduled for August 9-11, however, it was mentioned in this letter that the Council will meet later in August, which perhaps indicates the August 9 meeting has been moved back? Can anyone confirm that?

    I do think it’s extremely important that the fast occur prior to their next meeting. Will having the fast on August 21 or 22 allow our brethren to have this opportunity before the Council meets? If so, that’s good. If they’re meeting before the fast, not so good.

    Comment by Karen | August 5, 2010 | Reply

  22. Could all this turmoil be a contributing facter in the decline of the income to the church? Along with fasting for reconciation,love and forgiveness among the ministry and brethren I fast and pray with all my heart that we focus as well on the Work that we have been called to do. Let us preach the Gospel and prepare a people loving and united with the Father and Son setting aside any and all differences as true children of God. My heart goes out to all of our family in the church. Let us fight the good fight and not each other.

    Comment by Rachel Johnston | August 5, 2010 | Reply

  23. WE LIVE IN PUERTO RICO, AND ALTHOUGH WE ARE NOT “TRUE STAKEHOLDERS” OF UCG/IA ORGANIZATION AS ARE THE MINISTERS AND ELDERS AFFILIATED WITH IT; WE CERTAINLY ARE MEMBERS OF THE TRUE CHURCH OF GOD. AS SUCH WE ARE PRAYING AND FASTING THAT TRUE RECONCILIATION AND FORGIVENESS TAKE PLACE. WE WOULD LIKE TO SEE LESS TALK AND ACCUSATIONS, AND REAL ACTION FROM BOTH SIDES. MAY GOD LEAD TO THOSE ACTIONS.

    Comment by Eloy M. Valdes | August 5, 2010 | Reply

  24. Don’t be afraid of opposition; remember, the kite rises against the wind.

    Comment by David W. Morker | August 5, 2010 | Reply

    • True. However, we all need to educate ourselves on what the facts are..

      Comment by Sandy | August 5, 2010 | Reply

  25. In the spirit of full disclosure, may I respectfully ask for you to disclose the names of the 168+ who have signed this latest letter to the Council?

    Comment by David W. Morker | August 5, 2010 | Reply

  26. Thank you! Much needed for those that read the horrible nastiness on the internet. Very encouraging.

    Comment by H | August 6, 2010 | Reply

  27. It’s been my observation you could view the actual character of a person by watching how a person drives. Unexpected boldness can occur. Various traits come out, not necessarily “driven” by the fruits of the spirit.

    The same can be true for many folks who submit their thought behind the safety (seemingly) of a computer monitor in sites like Facebook, etc. True character comes out – again many traits not in line with the fruits of the spirit.

    Although we’re blessed with the internet media to allow further growth for those who are interested, it’s also being used as another tool. Envision it as a can of kerosene used by Satan to fan the fires of unrest within the church. He’s very clever. We know the elect can even be fooled – are we allowing ourselves to be fooled? Are we clever as well?

    Much of the scenario in the church today has spread like wildfire and can devour everyone of us if were not paying attention. It’s something of which we’re to be mindful. We must to be mindful. We know what we must do.

    My two cents worth.

    Comment by Karen | August 6, 2010 | Reply

  28. Seems like the only comments that are allowed to be on here on those favorable to the council

    Comment by Roxanna Yost | August 6, 2010 | Reply

    • The truth still has not emerged and until it does there will be no resolution. I am an American living and working in Latin America. I am in the middle of all of this and I know the truth. My coments have been censored because I speak the truth. God will not continue to bless UCG until the truth is revealed. I am waiting for the home office to reveal the truth of what the real issue is here in the latin america congregations.

      Comment by Dr. Robert Dowling | August 8, 2010 | Reply

  29. Matthew 7:15-23 “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them. Not everyone who says to me ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. MANY WILL SAY TO ME ON THAT DAY, ‘LORD, LORD, DID WE NOT DRIVE OUT DEMONS AND PERFORM MANY MIRACLES?’ AND I WILL TELL THEM PLAINLY, ‘I NEVER KNEW YOU. AWAY FROM ME, YOU EVILDOERS!'”

    Comment by Candy | August 6, 2010 | Reply

    • There is no accusation that I am aware about under theses circumstances which is saying Mr. Walker nor Mr. Luker has given a false prophecy or a false teaching. However there is an issue with how the authority given to the UCG under Jesus Christ should be managed.

      Comment by Norbert | August 8, 2010 | Reply

  30. Roxanna Yost said, “Seems like the only comments that are allowed to be on here are those favorable to the Council.”

    MY COMMENT: Oh, did you pick up on that too!?

    Comment by steve | August 6, 2010 | Reply

  31. Well these last two aren’t all that positve so there you go. Happy sabbath!!!

    Comment by Marcos | August 6, 2010 | Reply

  32. Mr. Luker and Mr. Rhodes, it appears to me that the council, as far as I can see, has followed the advice to “go to your brother in secret. . .” to discuss the dispute and then, with one or two others, before going to the whole church if the efforts fail.

    It appears that all efforts at a quiet behind-the-scenes reconciliation and fix to whatever brought this mess about in the first place have failed. The other side (horrid to think that there are “sides” in the Church of God!) is trying to air dirty laundry that may or may not exist. They cry, “Peace, peace,” but there is no peace because they won’t humble themselves to allow peace.

    At this point, whatever it takes to fix the church is what needs to be done. If names have to be named on the members’ site or here, so be it. The ones who’ve started this haven’t reacted in a Godly manner to overtures for reconciliation with the council and home office. On their own heads will rest the consequences.

    Comment by Susan Durnil | August 6, 2010 | Reply

  33. Some of us joined in the “Facebook fast” for UCG which was organized online in April. Then we took Mr. Luker up on his suggestion of July 3, and fasted for Church unity last month.

    Now comes a third fast, essentially on the same thing. I can’t help asking — what are we missing here? Do some of us need to review Isaiah 58, when it comes to proper and improper fasts? Or is God not granting our prayers for some reason — and if so, what is that reason?

    Comment by Richard | August 6, 2010 | Reply

  34. Maybe the false doctrines need to be eliminated?

    Comment by steve | August 7, 2010 | Reply

    • I’m with you on that, Steve. But therein lies the rub. Would our list of “false doctrines” necessarily match?

      Comment by Richard | August 7, 2010 | Reply

  35. Marcos said, “Well these last two aren’t all that positive so there you go.”

    MY COMMENT: So, if someone doesn’t take the side of the illustrious COE, and speak favorably about them, that means they are negative?

    Comment by steve | August 7, 2010 | Reply

    • Don’t think that’s what I said – I see a number of comments that remain that are not fawning over the Council. I think unfounded accusations (meaning a lack of facts) are likely removed because they are neither helpful nor are what I would view as Christian.

      Comment by Marcos | August 9, 2010 | Reply

  36. Considering the issue at hand, I believe one way to boil this down can be found in expanding upon the label of UCG. It specifically is the United Church of God (UCG), which is different from the United ChurchES of God (UCsG).

    Mr. Walker believes his office should not be taken away, whereas the UCG believes that any position is not permanent.

    The UCG also believes that they are not the only church Jesus Christ is working with. And NO ACCUSATION that I am aware about is saying Mr. Walker has given a false prophecy nor a false teaching.

    The question is how much autonomy and independence can the UCG provide? Can it become the UCsG? There are practical issues of accountablity and financing which make the latter extremely hard for any group and form of government to accomodate.

    Would circumstances be any different had this happenned in the LCG if Mr. Meredith sent a message to return, even after talking to him the first time? Maybe and maybe not, it’s hypothetical and only meant to show there are circumstances that go beyond and involve more than the type of government. They involve the personal relationships of all the leaders.

    In my opinion the recent events show there are numerous members in the South American work that haven’t come to terms with the form of government the UCG is using and they are only now beginning to see it. They and their elders who have been given priceless riches of young sheep do not want Mr. Walker replaced but they also know they need financing.

    What can be done to reach a just and equatible conclusion?

    I would go only so far as to suggest studying, praying and even fasting about three passages in the Bible, Mt 19:16-28 and Mt 18:23-35. And lastly, Romans 8:28-39. The day will come when there are only UCsG because our leader and Lord Jesus Christ returns.

    Comment by Norbert | August 8, 2010 | Reply

    • The truth is that this is not about Mr. Walker. He is just a decoy of the real problem that has everyone here in latin america upset.

      Comment by Dr. Robert Dowling | August 8, 2010 | Reply

  37. The truth still has not emerged. I must have hit a sensitive nerve because my last comment was censored! I love God’s church and because of my love for His church, I have a psssion to bring the truth to all. All of this is not what it appears.

    Dr. Robert Dowling
    Medical Scientist
    Cuenca Ecuador

    Comment by Dr. Robert Dowling | August 8, 2010 | Reply

    • Anyone who is familiar with web based blogs and discussion boards should already know a HUGE majority of them do NOT practice absolute freedom of speech. Censorship happens for numerous reasons, it is no more uncommon on those sites than it is here and I’ve also had one comment censored too.

      It does take discipline to remain on topic and hopefully add to the thoughts being present and not take away from them. But to introduce ‘other’ issues even if they too are real and somewhat relative to the subject, can be a reason to prohibit publishing such a comment. That is only my “guess” as to why some comments are deleted, seeing you mention, “He is just a decoy of the real problem that has everyone here in latin america upset”. Posting links that are deemed inappropiate may also have the comment deleted.

      Also the responses Mr. Walker and Mr. Roybals have to the letter by Mr. Luker and Mr. Rhodes are available on other websites. In my assessment neither of those responses specific purpose statement state that they are decoys. However that is not to categorically deny that other problems do not exist for all the churches of God. Not only for the UCG.

      Basically anyone within the UCG or other CoG who have some web savvy surfing ablities, we already know what most of those “nerves” are in addition to the present issue being commented on within this UCG page.

      Personally I’m not sure whether it would take courage or a lack of wisdom for any Official CoG webpage to engage in confronting all other issues by allowing any comment.

      Here’s a thought, perhaps you can find some CoG bloggers and email them with your concerns. Perhaps some of them may express their views on the subject in an orderly manner.

      P.S.

      I am grateful that the UCG has taken the courage to offer an official page and to whoever is managing the comments. My sincere Thanks.

      Norbert

      Comment by Norbert | August 9, 2010 | Reply

  38. I see that my comments are also being censored!

    Comment by steve | August 8, 2010 | Reply

  39. Seems a little misleading that there are supposed to be 50 comments but the numbering only goes up to 38. Is there a limit on how many comments can be published at a time? And what, pray tell, is your hard and fast criteria for determining whether a comment is fit for publishing? If we are respectful, don’t use profanity or name-calling, and don’t violate anyone else’s rights or privacy, is there any other reason for not publishing someone’s comment?

    Comment by Patte Rehak | August 9, 2010 | Reply

    • If you add in the replies to comments, you’ll get 50, er, 52 now. The replies are counted separately in the top count, but not in the count along the side.

      Comment by Susan Durnil | August 10, 2010 | Reply

    • To answer the first question, the “Reply” action is not given a number. Basically look at the last number given on thise page and ADD those replies to it. That is the number 50 displayed on the main page at the specific time you viewed it.

      When it comes to blogs, the blogger is god. I believe none of them I have read actually do have anything “extensive” written down to guide people in the does and don’ts. It’s left to their own discretion and even an emailed complaint may or may not get an answer.

      However as you mentioned, “If we are respectful, don’t use profanity or name-calling, and don’t violate anyone else’s rights or privacy, is there any other reason for not publishing someone’s comment?” Those qualities of behavior are a good rule of thumb yet the other reason which leads to contention is always “the facts”. And I mean facts in a very broad sense.

      What the Host considers as facts contribute to their blog may not necessarily be the same as those making a response. And therein is the difficulty in understanding why some comments are deleted.

      Now if I may and it’s ok with those who moderate the responses, I would suggest for anyone trying to understand all the ins and outs about how comments are moderated and how responses should be given, go to the “Christian Forums” dot com website.

      At the moment they are ranked 22 in the rankings of top www forums. They deal with both religious and non religious content and have tailored their posting policies accordingly to guide people into the does and don’ts. Much of which I believe can be applied to any blog, especially blogs that deal with the Bible.

      They have numerous “stickies” to be found there that explain the method of moderating and posting. Hopefully that would give some more indepth insight and “extensive”(literally)🙂 writings when concidering what to post on any web page where comments are allowed.

      However since this is a blog and it could take a whopping amount of time to examine the writings in those forums, I would say remember those responsible for their blog are god. So if a person gets censored it is not an unjust or evil thing that has happenned to you, it is what it is and try not to be offended because of it.

      Comment by Norbert | August 10, 2010 | Reply

  40. […] Chairman and President Write August 4 Letter August 2010 53 comments […]

    Pingback by Inside United: Realtime —2010 in Review « Inside United: Realtime | January 3, 2011 | Reply


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