Byker Bob’s “common sense revolution” for the UCG


(Editor’s note: You may have looked at my reforms for the UCG but here’s Byker Bob’s ideas for reform excerpted from Gavin’s blog. Yes, I will admit  my ideas a lot more theoretical, whereas Byker Bob’s ideas are more on the side of  being the practical nitty-gritty. A lot of people can relate to that. Not to forget, his ideas for UCG reform are truly full of common sense. As I said on my previous post, times are a changing and at least there some in the UCG know that. We can only hope that can spread further)



Quit putting obstacles in front of people who want to attend. Advertise your address in the Yellow Pages with the other churches. When curious people show up, don’t have the gestapo give them the first degree starting in the parking lot, try instead to create an environment so that they feel welcome and actually want to come back, and maybe learn something more. Remember, Jesus and John the Baptist didn’t tell people who wanted to be baptized that they had to quit smoking, start tithing, split from second or third marriages, so in maybe six months they could qualify for baptism and the Holy Spirit. They baptized the people the same day so the the Holy Spirit could come into their lives and help them bear fruits.

Drop the dress code. Of course, the congregation should not take advantage of this, but what’s wrong with some dude showing up in Levis, a Harley shirt and Tevas? If his attitude is right, why focus on the physical (Editor’s note: Just like Bruxy Cavey’s The Meeting House. There, you MUST throw away your suit!) .

Dump the Purple Joykiller. Appoint a worship leader, and have him put together a band with contemporary instruments. Need a clue as to what constitutes inspiring praise music today? Listen to Christian radio, or tune in JCTV. There is some awesome and very inspiring music being produced these days, and the ACOGs are out of the loop on it.

Quit treating Herbert W. Armstrong as if he was equal to the priests, Kings, prophets, or apostles in the Bible. Question his models, his methods, and above all, some of the speculative and extra-Biblical doctrines that are antiquated and obviously not working. Remember, the church started by Jesus Christ is about Jesus and God, not about Herbert W. Armstrong. 

Get accountable! Have a third party evaluate your finances to ensure that everything is within typical accounting guidelines for a modern religious organization, so that you can make a case for broadcasting on TBN(Editor’s note, it is time for them to embrace trinitarian thinking for them to be palatable for TRINITY Broadcasting Network). That’s where the greatest harvest is happening today! With the Messianics and the Prophecy related teachers, believe me, your message might fit in better than you could possibly imagine.

Learn to preach in love, and not with an angry, growling tone. Your message gets across much better to a broader cross section of the general public when they know that you are preaching out of love, rather than from a position of Pharisaic condemnation. 

Learn how to deal with dificult personality types, and how to assist in their spiritual development without using the disfellowship tool. Reserve that tool only for sexual predators in the congregation, and other extreme cases.

Get involved with your community. Give back. Help in disaster relief, and do volunteer work. Contribute to charities. Interact, don’t cloister yourselves, that just hides your light! Armstrongism has a despicable history of being the most selfish and self-absorbed religious movement in the history of the USA (Editor’s note that is sooo true!!!).
Work hard to obliterate that perception.

Those would be my recommendations in a nutshell. I am sure others could add to the list. I must say, though, that I seriously doubt that any ACOG leader, or aspiring leader would be capable of acting in this fashion. You’d probably actually need God’s guidance to behave in such a converted and Christlike way.

Editor’s note: They make sense to me Byker Bob!


3 thoughts on “Byker Bob’s “common sense revolution” for the UCG

  1. Thanks for the extra mileage, and for your usual insightful comments, Felix. I hope that God is helping both of us to make a difference.

    I was especially struck by your comment on the trinity. Up until just recently, I could not understand how it was terribly important whether someone held a unitarian, binitarian, or trinitarian position. But, I’ve come to realize that when a person, or a church does not understand or attach full significance to the role of the Holy Spirit, it means that something is horribly missing from the basic life-transforming Christian equation, and unfortunately, the missing component ends up being compensated for by something vastly inferior to it, and that something is spiritually damaging.

    We can see exactly how Armstrongism teaches people to compensate. Rather than trust the HS to work in individual members’ lives, the ministers substitute themselves into this role. They become enforcers, rather than spiritual guides. This impedes the natural and individualistic working of the Holy Spirit in members’ lives. The first instance in which most members encounter this is the laborious process they must go through to prove they are worthy even to be invited to attend the very much closed and private sabbath services. . Once they are full members, there is increased scrutiny, and much unsolicited advice, often “from the hip” and prior to ministers even knowing the full facts. During the WCG “golden era”, extensive visitor reports and evaluation records were maintained in Pasadena on all of the members around the world. Past sins and attitudes were carefully catalogued in these documents, and followed members from congregation to congregation, or from minister to minister. Any gentle prodding of the hearts was usurped and trumped by the church’s strict government from the top down. Again, they missed the point that while God may indeed work in some cases from the top down, most of His work is done from the bottom up, transforming the hearts of individuals, one Christian at a time.

    The ACOG stand on personal evangelism provides another disturbing case in point. Rather than teach people to carefully watch and determine where the Holy Spirit is working, so that things shared with others can be natural, effective, and appropriate, ministers simply outlaw any personal exchanges. They ask, “What happens if somebody hears the truth, and is made responsible for it before he’s actually ready?” Does that sound like a question that someone who trusts the Holy Spirit would be asking? Personal evangelism, at it’s best, is not a scripted information dump. It does not consist of inviting others to “God’s true church”, or even sharing doctrines! It is genuine encouragement to another, perhaps someone in the throes of crisis or trauma, to ask God to walk with them. Maybe a little sincere personal testimony is thrown in. The rest of the process is up to God. The Holy Spirit often prompts normal lay people to share, just like this, at critical points in others’ lives. God arranges circumstances and chance meetings, for people to be at just the right place, at just the right time. The Bible is full of such examples. We are in fact commanded to let our lights shine, and to give testimony of the hope and joy of our salvation!

    If you examine the traditional Armstrongist approach to prophecy, more “compensating” becomes evident. The ministers amplify the events of the tribulation, and always place them 3 to 5 years to the immediate future. This is a concerted effort to back receptive listeners or readers into an idealogical corner, with the only way out being membership in “God’s one and only true church.” That is not spiritual guidance. It is total human manipulation, and continues, or even intensifies, after one becomes a member. It also places someone into the position of making life’s most profound decisions based on duress, as opposed to free will and from the heart. It’s nothing less than “save your ass” evangelism, and often becomes an exercise in blatant tithe farming. This really grieves me, because I know that prophecy can be taught humbly, non-manipulatively, in love, and with proper balance, having recently seen sterling examples of it. By constantly emphasizing the warfare and plagues of the future, and by specifying or implying close range dates for this, ACOG leaders deprive their members of the daily joy, tranquility and blessings that result yet in this physical life from living for Jesus Christ. They keep members constantly on edge! To understand the full effect of such abuse, imagine how cruel it would have been if Jesus had beckoned Peter to walk to Him on the water, and then had deliberately called his attention to the wind and waves with every step that Peter took! Fortunately, our Savior is loving, and would never do such a thing! In fact, he told Peter he should not have allowed himself to be distracted from his faith by focussing on these physically dangerous factors. So, why would people who profess to be His ministers constantly and very overtly induce fear?

    I really hope people carefully consider the basic spirit of traditional ACOG ministry, and how it impacts their entire understanding of Christianity and their approach to life. In some cases, I know that it is all they know. You, my friend, have hit the nail squarely on the head! It is time that these churches embrace and understand the full status of God’s Holy Spirit, and learn to trust Him to do His job! Following Pentecost, that basic understanding is what produced the heart transforming differences between the Pharisees and the early Christians of the New Testament! And, I might add, it is still having that same exact effect on churches and their members today!


  2. You did it again, you presented a “heart-knowledge” case of the personality of the Holy Spirit! Amazing on your part.

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