I did say that I was going talk about the current crisis in the United Church of God. I actually had a post about Richard Burkard’s “personal” crisis over certain hymns that he couldn’t sing to the audience. J of Shadows of WCG has his own take with his emphasis on his very firm belief in New Covenant Theology (I hope recognizes there are many other interpretations of law and grace and Christendom and that his is one of many, not the only interpretation) and “NO2HWA” has chronicled the latest resignations, firings and shenanigans in the UCG in his blog Banned By HWA.
I have in the past given suggestions of where the UCG could go. My friend Douglas Becker gave me a reality check of would anyone there (particularly the ministry) would ever listen. I knew anyway that the ministers from all the XCG splinters are poor listeners (they believe in the art of ignoring people) and their members are selective listeners (where they cherry-pick what they want to hear from others).
There are people whom I know personally who are in the United Church of God. I believe some are very decent people. They are sincere in seeking God. What I think the people of the United Church of God need to do is simply need to go directly to God. Forget HWA, forget the Council of Elders and I dare them to forget their own church literature. These things have just as served as bureaucratic roadblocks. Nothing more. This is a scary step but a very necessary step if they want a radical change in their spiritual pilgrimage. It is time for ALL in the UCG, whether member or minister to recognize that the vehicle is NOT working. It is time to get a new vehicle.
I am not talking about a new splinter either. It can be guaranteed that if a new splinter takes place, sometime down the road some wild-eyed dreamy preacher (or wannabe preacher) will have some more eccentric ideas and create another split (how many times do I have really mention Ron Weinland?). What about the split from the split? Who’s legitimate? Again, splinters are ego focused and takes the focus off the real head of the invisible Body of Jesus Christ (Jesus, of course). It doesn’t take a rocket scientist that splinters are about following man and for those who angrily object are simply in denial.
Frankly and bluntly, those who are caught up in Armstrongism are just like addicts on hard drugs. They need a fix. The fix is an Apostle who is directly sent from God—or the fix is prophecy—they are so eager the world to end and be destroyed. Well God has for whatever reasons not ended the world yet (and believe me with the wickedness and injustice that run rampant in today’s world, I still have yet to understand God’s mercy). We all have to cope with that fact. It seems those in the XCG have the most difficulty doing that. They need that fix. This is why some very few would even go to a Seventh Day Baptist Church or a Messianic Jewish Congregation (with the exception to infiltrate that place with Armstrongite doctrines as been proven). The XCG’s just provide that boost—putting that person in a constant state of alertness and restlessness. Sad indeed, but the truth.
What would be my current wish for the people of the United Church of God? Note I emphasized people. I don’t care much of the organizational structure of that church. One UCG blogger wonders if the organization will last next year? Is this really a bad thing? If it could create more independent thinkers I’d say it’s a good thing. If it could produce people who can innovate and think outside of the box, it’s also a good thing. Well what would be the best alternative for some to go? Probably it is the best the thing for the people of the United Church of God to leave mass exodus from the organization and start knocking on the door of The Church of God (Seventh Day), where it may not be perfect but there is a centrality of Jesus Christ and His Gospel. The CG7 does believe in celebrating the Seventh-Day Sabbath (and have grown up in recognizing some let’s say 21st century “ox in the ditch” situations), celebrates the Lord’s Supper (Passover) on the 14th of Nisan, believes in a 72 hour death,burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, believes in conditional immortality, premillennialism and other similarities without the stranger and ascetic peculiarities of Armstrongism. If a good chunk of the people do this, I will be doing cartwheels. This is not to say that one’s spiritual pilgrimage may end there. It may lead you to places and ideas unexpected. Sadly there are those who are scared of using their own minds and wanting to be told what to do. My prayer that these people will be in the minority and may they only serve as a museum piece making no impact on the world scene being nothing but an object of humour in which the rightly deserve. The rest who desire freedom and to recapture true sanity, need our support more than ever before. This is no time for tea but a time for action. May it be sooner than later.