Inside United: Realtime

Exciting News & Updates from UCGIA

Dennis Luker writes to Ministry and Membership

October 15, 2010

Dear Fellow Elders and Brethren,

Traditionally after the Feast of Tabernacles we all return to our home congregations inspired and refreshed, ready to grow in the spiritual vision of the coming Kingdom of God. For the vast majority of us, this year is no different. The 2010 Feast of Tabernacles may now be history, but it is a pleasant and inspiring memory, one that I hope will sustain us with zeal for spiritual growth all the way through to the Spring Holy Day season in 2011.

Unfortunately for a few, the period immediately following this traditionally joyous experience has been one of disruption. In a time when we are supposed to be experiencing the afterglow of satisfaction and confidence in obeying God’s commands, I must now address a matter of importance. I write this letter to you with a heavy heart, but with absolute trust and faith in Jesus Christ as Head of this Church. We are all being severely tested at this time by the conflict we are having within the ministry of our Church, the United Church of God.

Let me come to the point of this letter: A highly vocal few, particularly in online forums, have raised imaginary issues about the current administration and Council of Elders. These false issues center on recent letters published from Melvin Rhodes and me about the Sabbath day and about fasting. One of our letters, published shortly before the Festival season, confirmed the inviolate sacredness of the Sabbath day, but also discussed how one family in Chile was seeking counsel and resolution for a specific and nonroutine issue regarding Sabbath observance.

That church family had endured a shocking level of slander, particularly in online forums. The specific issues (which should have remained confidential according to the traditional process followed by the Church), were wrongly and tragically elevated by some from a personal to a public level. Some were trying to force these personal issues into an organizational context and hurl accusations against the Church itself. Since that tragic breach of confidence occurred and began to take on a larger element of a direct attack on the Church, we published our Sabbath letter to try to help set the record straight.

We are called to be peacemakers (Matthew 5:9) and to submit to Jesus Christ as the living Head of this Church. If by including the family’s account (or through the title of the letter) we inadvertently caused some confusion about how people should observe the Sabbath day, then we offer an apology. To be absolutely clear, nothing concerning the established teachings of the Church about the Sabbath has changed, nor is any change being considered. Further, given the established procedures set forth in the Church’s governing structure, it is impossible for the administration or the Council of Elders to make any doctrinal changes.

Given that the family has sought counsel and resolution from Church leaders, the specific issue will follow the traditionally accepted process. To help restore the respect and confidentiality due that process, Melvin Rhodes and I earlier withdrew that particular letter as previously announced.

Now, in addition to being peacemakers, part of the responsibility of this administration is to be defenders of the faith. In attending to that responsibility, I must point out that some others, particularly in online forums, are now unfortunately and sadly twisting the content of both that letter and another letter published about fasting and seeking the will of God. Some have openly and falsely alleged that somehow these letters contain evidence of the beginnings of a doctrinal shift. Nothing could be further from the truth!

Let me speak plainly: Some of the online comments that have been forwarded to me are devoid of any civility, much less representative of anything the Church teaches about Christian conduct! On one hand, the Internet brings us the powerful capacity to preach the gospel of peace and make it freely available to millions. On the other hand, that same Internet offers the capacity for woeful hurt, enabling people who claim to be members and ministers to fabricate outright lies and half-truths, mocking God and His Church in easily discoverable content that directly undermines the precious work we are called to perform. This unfortunately reminds me of what Peter described as taking place among a few in the first-century Church: “They are presumptuous, self-willed. They are not afraid to speak evil of dignitaries” (2 Peter 2:10).

The rumors and accusations flying everywhere, especially on the Internet, are that this conflict is once again about doctrine, as it was in 1995 when United began. Some are saying that I, as president, and that other ministers on the Council of Elders, want to change some of our foundational doctrinal beliefs.

For those who have forgotten, let me remind you that I stood strongly in 1995 as United was forming because of doctrinal conflicts at that time. I was on the governing board of United for the first five years and helped in the development of our governing documents—our Constitution (which includes our Fundamental Beliefs), Bylaws and Rules of Association. These were all based on God’s Holy Word, the Bible.

After 32 years in the full-time ministry of the Worldwide Church of God, I left, as did most of you, in order to obey God and keep the Sabbath and Holy Days. Let me assure you that my commitment to love and obey God and keep His commandments has not changed—and never will! Loving, obeying and serving God and His people is the purpose of my life and ministry. I have already said to you and all the brethren that, because I am human and imperfect, I will make mistakes, but they will not be mistakes of departing from God and His holy, righteous laws.

Those of you who have ears to hear, be assured of my commitment to God, His Word, His Church and His work. I made that commitment to Him over 51 years ago when I was baptized, and I will keep that commitment to Him until my dying breath!

But, even as we experience this current trial, we possess supreme confidence that Christ knows our hearts. As the Leader of His Church, He knows how to lead us through this trial and on to victory! Even now we are beginning to see deepening and encouraging fruits of the Church’s proclamation of the precious gospel on national TV using WGN America. New contacts, reflecting real spiritual curiosity and an inspiring hunger for God’s truth, are coming with more frequency. As we move into the fall television season when viewership increases, we pray for and expect to see more of these types of responses.

As these contacts progress through our literature, the logical expectation is that these people will soon want to see what the Church looks like on the inside. What will they find? My prayer is that they will find a people practicing a way of life revealed by God through Jesus Christ, mirroring “the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe” (Ephesians 1:19, emphasis added).

Ministers and brethren, we caught the vision and experienced a taste of the Kingdom of God once again in the recent Feast of Tabernacles. Let us individually and collectively look beyond any current trials, renewing with fresh zeal our commitment to seek and yield to God’s will, with “the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling” (Ephesians 1:18).

Today, let us all guard our hearts and minds, and under Christ’s loving guidance “be even more diligent to make your call and election sure” (2 Peter 1:10)! May God help us all through this present trial and lead us all to a deeper repentance, so that He may finish, through us, the wonderful work He has given us to do.

Sincerely, your brother in Christ,

Dennis Luker—President

October 15, 2010 - Posted by | General Conference of Elders, Home Office, President's Office |

23 Comments »

  1. Amen Amen! Mr Luker

    Comment by Alvah Pyle | October 15, 2010 | Reply

  2. Dear Mr. Luker:
    Thank-you so much for your faithful and loyal loving shepherdship over the flocks of the Most High. We also appreciate your submission and yieldedness to our Beloved Father God. We are grateful that as a God-fearer and peacemaker, you seek a righteous solution to this tumultuous turmoil–It is profoundly obvious that you are an Isaiah 66 man-a man after God’s own heart.
    agape gary and liz densmore
    ps
    Many years ago, Mr. Armstrong made the point that a man’s ministry is 50% his wife’s support and contribution…you’re affectionate and loving adoration to your wife LeeAnn in this regards, is a wonderful example to all of us in the Church! You and your family and the Men of Valor are embraced in our thoughts and prayers.

    Comment by Gary Densmore | October 15, 2010 | Reply

  3. Too often too many of our people presume that their accusations, speculations and assessments are inspired by God’s Holy Spirit. If that was the case there would be consensus, not rumours and lies – which are the province of Satan. The one thing that is clear is that politics is the base issue and lust for power and a desire to take over what is not theirs but God’s. That is not Christlike. Satan destroyed WCG by these means. We ought to have learned that lesson.
    At the Feast a visitor from the USA commented that it was good to be among people who weren’t political. We, like Christ, must be about our Father’s business. We need to grow up. Fast.

    Comment by Mavis Stucci | October 15, 2010 | Reply

  4. When you compare what’s going on in the UCG now and the information available within the NT about the 1st century Church. Has very much changed? God’s people are not like some medieval painting of saints with glowing soup plates above their heads.

    As a whole I believe the UCG and you Dennis are doing you’re best to keep the commandments of God and faith of Jesus Christ. Of course there’s always room for improvement and such things as these current issues are just another step (as troublesome as it may be) in the walk.

    Here’s a scripture I’ve been needfully wrestling with in my own social life apart from these doctrinal issues within the UCG.

    “We do hard work, toiling with our own hands. When we are verbally abused, we respond with a blessing, when persecuted, we endure, when people lie about us, we answer in a friendly manner. We are the world’s dirt and scum, even now.” (1 Cor 4:12-13)

    Comment by Norbert | October 15, 2010 | Reply

  5. Saludos!!
    Sr.Dennis..el cargo que tiene muy difícil de mucho trabajo,pero pediré a Dios para que le de fuerza, y siga adelante con su ministerio.
    Gracias por el apoyo al ministerio en América latina,y no dejarnos solos…hasta pronto..

    Comment by Fito Higueros | October 15, 2010 | Reply

  6. thank you Denny, for stepping up to the plate with an open heart of service towards God and His people .. you are an inspiration to us all .. may God hold you close to His heart and guide your steps ..

    Comment by Robin Wojcik | October 15, 2010 | Reply

  7. Good Morning to Our Dear Friends,

    We hope that you and LeeAnn have a wonderful peaceful Sabbath.
    Thank you both so much for your true love and concern for the welfare of the brethren. You exemplify how to have the true servants heart of Jesus Christ.

    Paul & Dana

    Comment by Paul Burnes | October 16, 2010 | Reply

  8. All this reminds me of something Chairman Rhodes during on the Feast video. Many in UCG (I have no idea how many) are struggling to learn how to apply the second great commandment – “love your neighbor as yourself.”

    Those who have a memorized rote definition of “love” based on I John 5:3 might want to spend some time studying I Corinthians 13. Slowly. Carefully. One phrase at a time.

    I’ve discovered that chapter deepens the concept of love quite a bit – and makes it more challenging. Perhaps even convicting.

    Comment by Richard | October 16, 2010 | Reply

  9. muchos comenterios lindos pero no tienen idea lo que esta pasando

    Comment by danieldeltransito | October 16, 2010 | Reply

  10. Amen, Mr. Luker! Well said, sir!

    Comment by Susan Durnil | October 16, 2010 | Reply

  11. Thank you Mr Luker for all you are doing for the Church and trying to keep it together. I am new to the Church and attended my first Feast this year. I believe this is the true Church of God and God will prevail. But you are a very open and caring President which speaks volumes to your faith.
    Thank you!

    Comment by David Maltais | October 16, 2010 | Reply

  12. David Maltias, it is even as you have said, this is the true Church of God and our Father and His Holy One will prevail. Amen. Amen. We, the called out ones, must endure and prevail unto the end relying and trusting on them, in living faith, to lead and guide our paths in their righteousness in the Holy Spirit which makes us different from the world as the covering cast and the veil has been removed from our minds and now understand the things that are of our Father and His Holy One as we are now set apart for His use in these days just as the called out ones before us were given the opportunity for the advancement of His will in their lives, and in particular, publishing the GOOD NEWS of the coming Kingdom of God and going from glory to glory in our own spiritual development as overcomers in things pertaining to our holy calling. Amen. Amen. May our Father and His Holy One, Jesus of Nazareth, always be a lamp unto your feet that you may finish the race with confidence in the high calling He has given to you.

    Comment by dwight s. stewart | October 17, 2010 | Reply

  13. In a number of discussions with brethren at church, i mentioned that the pressure that both members and ministers are applying to our Council and President, needs to stop.I asked a simple question:”How do our leaders in office work,when there is so much of uncalled for accusations?”
    Thank you Mr Luker and the Council for your loving service in God’s church.Please keep on soldiering on.These are tough times indeed.
    To those who continue to accuse you,please remember that we all have to above reproach before our Father in heaven.
    …Collin Naidoo (UCG- Durban,South Africa)

    Comment by Collin Naidoo | October 17, 2010 | Reply

    • correction…We all have to be above reproach before our Father in heaven.

      Comment by Collin Naidoo | October 17, 2010 | Reply

  14. Right on!

    Comment by Helen Hunicke | October 17, 2010 | Reply

  15. I love the Lukers. I love the leadership of the church. I love other churches. I even love the ones who don’t live by Philippians 4:8. I wish they would live by Philippians 4:8 but I know that it’s likely they will eventually because God is really good at getting what He wants, and He desires salvation for all, and unity forever. Peace within each man and peace among all men.

    Humility should clothe all those who proclaim the sovereignty of God and a humble heart results in a gentle tongue.

    I love you Mr. And Mrs. Luker. You are graceful. Your God is mighty.

    Comment by Gus Hunicke | October 17, 2010 | Reply

  16. Dear Mr Luker,
    Many high ranking ministers do not want to relinquish power, after many years of adoration, as you know. Hence the whispering campaign to discredit the council and elevate themselves.
    Some brand you as liberals and are constantly seeking evidence.

    In an earlier letter you said not to worry about numbers. So you have to continue to stand firm and do what is right, however unpleasant.

    Regards
    Graham Robinson

    Comment by Graham Robinson | October 18, 2010 | Reply

  17. The attitude of peace and humility is much appreciated, as is the support and kind words many have written toward Mr. Luker regarding this issue. It’s wonderful to be able to read a section of comments that is not vitriolic and filled with disunity.

    However, let’s be careful that we don’t inadvertently use attacks against a minority group as the basis for our support. Some individuals did take issue with the rescinded letter, and we must not be found guilty of judging their hearts and motives without knowledge.

    Again, thank you to all who have posted thoughts of peace and not of evil… it is a pleasant shift and hopefully one we’re able to maintain. 🙂

    Comment by Peace Maker | October 18, 2010 | Reply

  18. Everyone man up and get along!

    Comment by Joe | October 18, 2010 | Reply

  19. I have never met mr. Luker but judging from what I have seen and heard from him he seems to be a upright man who wants to do God’s will and i’m praying for your success in Christ. I have met mr. Rhodes and he has always been a good and upright man to me and I also pray for his success and that God will continue to lead these two men as well as all of the council members and servant leaders in God’s church. Those who are stirring up false controversy must beware that they don’t develop a root of bitterness. I would suggest that whoever read this turn to Eph.4:1-3 paying special attention to vs. 3. and also col. 3:15.

    Comment by Charles Taylor | October 19, 2010 | Reply

    • recuerde hermano que DIOS escribio en su libro que no hay ningun justo en la tierra no hay nadie que haga lo bueno… no hay nadie que busque a DIOS no nos equivoquemos nosotros mismos…. si alguin recibe honores no lo permitamos DIOS ES EL UNICO BUENO EL UNICO JUSTO ,,, JESUCRISTO FUE EL UNICO QUE BUSCO A DIOS …. NOSOTROS SOMOS COMO TRAPOS DE INMUNDICIA ……….

      Comment by danieldel | November 24, 2010 | Reply

  20. I am still concerned about our Latin American brethren.
    What is being done to reconciliate with them?

    Comment by Robert Biskup | October 20, 2010 | Reply

    • HERMANO BISKUP ROBERT, gracias por su preocupacion……..por nosotros. yo creo por lo visto …. si la division es de DIOS ,, nadie podra hacer nada… si es su voluntad… nadie podra hacer algo.. COMO estamos en tiempo del fin ,,, Principios de Dolores N o estaremos viviendo la Division de la Iglesia una etapa llamada FILADELFIA Y OTRA ETAPA LLAMADA LAODICEA talvez . QIEN ES QUIEN lo decide DIOS … no seres humanos….. EL ABRE Y NINGUNO CIERRA …..Y CIERRA Y NINGUNO ABRE -… EL CONOCE LAS OBRAS DE ESTA DOS ETAPAS ,,, revelacion 3. 8 revelacion 3. 15 1 FILADELFIA TIENE VENTAJA ESTA MEJOR….. LAODICEA TIENE DESVENTAJA ESTA PEOR, ESTO LO DICE DIOS… revelacion 3. 7 ESTO DICE EL SANTO Y VERDADERO DE FILADELFIA……. revelacion 3, 14 EL TESTIGO FIEL Y VERDADERO DICE ESTO DE LAODICEA CONOCE LAS OBRAS DE LAS DOS ETAPAS….. Aqui hay que ser celoso y Arrepentirse si estamos mal…. DIOS NOS AYUDE A TODOS … EL TIENE EL CONTROL… TENEMOS QUE HACER BUENAS OBRAS. EL NO QUIERE QUE NINGUNO PRESCA….. NUEVAMENTE QUE dios nos ayude a todos paro hagase su voluntad………….saludos para todos……..

      Comment by danieldel | November 25, 2010 | Reply


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: