OK, I am going over this so-called list of “doctrinal differences” for subjects to explore. This isn’t so much as to try to defend UCG or refute LCG but to promote honest study into matters. However, it is difficult to be even handed when the “Doctrinal Differences Between Living & United Church of God” is so heavily biased, inconsistent and incorrect on so many fronts.
1. Broadcast Media and Doing a Work X Silly me, I thought we were talking about doctrine. At any rate, if you are really counting, then UCG has a much larger web presence and a lot more booklets.
2. Handling Income Surpluses in 2001 X Petty and not doctrine
3. Size: Elders, Churches, and Feast Sites X Ditto
5. Third Tithe – Y Guess this is next
6. Church Eras – The idea that you have to understand church eras to proclaim the true Gospel is ludicrous. Yes, LCG and UCG view them differently, but I don’t agree with either poisition: http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/1925152/the_significance_of_the_seven_churches.html?cat=34
7. Laodicea X This is different from 6 how?
8. Philadelphia X This is different from 6 how?
9. Petra – Y Sure, why not?
10. Who Will Be Protected? X Another redundant item?
11. Iran: Possible King of the South X Actually, I addressed this in a blog entry some time ago. However, there is no difference in teachings between LCG or UCG. Any “difference” is based upon one quote that only mentions the “possibility” of Iran heading up a southern coalition.
12. Herbert W. Armstrong—Elijah Done, but in reality there isn’t any difference between LCG and UCG.
13. Birthdays – Y
14. Born Again – YYY I definitely want to address this one. UCG has changed the traditional teaching somewhat, much to my disappointment.
15. Disasters X There is no difference, more hype. I’ve covered a couple of disasters in the blog anyhow.
16. Miracles X More hype. Do you really think people in UCG don’t believe that God intervenes in their affairs?
17. Voting X More hype. UCG’s stance is not against voting, per se, but rather getting involved in a worldly governmental system. That pretty much takes care of voting, serving in the military and jury duty.
18. Jury Duty X Ditto. However, I would point out that UCG does not try to act like a nanny for those who honestly believe otherwise.
19. 18 Truths X Actually, I have more or less addressed this in various postings. In short, the “18 Truths” are not Scripture. Don’t take a man’s word for it. Study the Bible and show yourself approved.
20. Last Great Day X This is a somewhat interesting topic, but hardly worth an entire article. The 8th day of the FOT is not named in Scripture. Traditionally, it has been called the Last Great Day. However, since Scripture does not give it a name, then whether you call it “The Last Great Day”, “The 8th Day” or “The Day of Pumpernickel” doesn’t change what it stands for. And, if you think I’m just being silly, then remember that naming a holiday “Christmas” does not make it so.
21. Unleavened Bread X This is more hair-splitting silliness. The difference between being “not required” to do something and “should” do something isn’t as great as Dr Thiel seems to want to believe.
22. Holidays X UCG does not observe Christmas and Easter, and Thiel knows that. Perhaps he should learn a little more about writing to a specific audience, especially an online one.
23. Catholic or Moslem Europe? X It should simply be enough to remind Thiel that the words “Catholic” and “Muslim” are not in the Bible. It should also be enough to remind him that throughout history, the Catholic Church has syncretized various other beliefs into its teachings. The Catholic Church of today is not the one of the 4th century, or even of the 1950s for that matter. The final religious aspect will be based upon the current Catholic teachings, I’m sure, but it may not be the same exact Catholicism we see today.
24. Doctrinal Changes X Not even sure what Thiel’s point is. It is perceived to be difficult to change doctrine. Good!
25. Approaches to Prophecy: When is the End? Should it be a major concern? X Yes, it is as much of a concern as setting dates should be. Even Thiel admits, “LCG’s top leadership is more willing to go out on a ‘prophetic limb’ than I have ever seen UCG’s top leadership do…” Again, good! I’ve seen way too much disillusionment and falling away because of speculations that have run out of control. Going out on a ‘prophetic limb’ is dangerous, and that is why I’m so critical of Ronald Weinland. Shame on you, Thiel!
26. Governance – Y I should write this one up
as soon as I find the command for “Thou shalt follow My ‘one man’. You will know him because of the large ‘My Man’ stamped on his forehead.”
27. Mission/Why Are They There X One of the problems with UCG’s form of government is the same type of problem you have with any committee. Not everyone will see eye-to-eye, and, more importantly, not everyone will interpret every little bylaw the same. The recent GCE in May pretty much points out that both preaching the Gospel and preparing a people is about discipleship – you know, the Great Commission.
28. Brief Financial Comparison of US Income X Yet again, what does this have to do with doctrine?
So, we are left with the following topics (keep in mind the point isn’t so much to make hash over differences, but rather to compare traditional COG beliefs with the Bible and perhaps to those of some of the splinters):
- Third Tithe
- Petra/Tribulation/Place of Safety
- Born Again (actually might move this one up on the list)
- Government, esp. Church Government
Anyone have any favorites? Any favorites that have been left off?