The COG Brand – Or, Has Marketing Taken Over at UCG?

When I saw the latest report that UCG has decided it needs a “brand”, their words, I thought the web would be more abuzz than it is.  Even Robert Thiel decided to do no more than throw his Laodicean dart in “UCG Wants to Be a Brand”.  He didn’t even stop long enough to sharpen the tip, in fact.  Doing a Google on “ucg brand” reveals nothing related to United Church of God and branding other than Thiel’s article.

I don’t know.  Is it just not newsworthy?  Not worth discussion; only worth hurling the typical insults without cause?

Personally, I’m not sure how I feel about all of this.  Any form of marketing is a tool.  Herbert W Armstrong was in advertizing, a form of marketing your product.  In fact, presenting the Gospel to the masses is a form of marketing.  In a generic sense, there isn’t really anything wrong with marketing.

Of course, any tool can be abused, and certainly marketing in this world has been abused.  It often has a bad connotation, and it has often lived down to its reputation.  So, a valid question, to my mind at least, is whether or not we should be dabbling in something as tainted and worldly.  Does it cross a line somewhere?

I should warn you that if you don’t have a sense of humor you might not want to read any further because the interactions of the COG organizations are a lot like the playground disputes at your local elementary school.

Thiel wrote, “Of course, I think that UCG been branded itself already…” which seems to imply that “Laodicean” is the brand since he ends with “neither cold nor hot.”  Perhaps UCG could make its brand as “More booklets and websites than LCG.”  Perhaps LCG could respond with, “We have more TV stations, nyahh, nyahh, nyahh, nyahh, nyahh, nyahh!”

Actually, the fun needn’t stop there.  There are a grab bag of mottos that several of the COGs could brand themselves with (disclaimer: some of which may fit any, all or none of the actual organizations around).  Hey, there are enough here to offend just about everyone, I think:

  1. We are the One True Church, even though you cannot tell us apart from 400+ other organizations.

  2. We are serious.  No, really.

  3. You can’t make me laugh about myself or my church.

  4. Because we said so!

  5. You mean heat is associated with love and not zeal?

  6. We love you, now go away!

  7. We follow the One Man!  We can prove it because the One Man says so!

  8. We’re not disorganized; we are a committee.

  9. Makeup is the Mark of the Beast.

  10. How dare you be grateful for being born!

  11. Who needs efficiency when you can have more meetings?

  12. We are so streamlined that we put out more false doctrines faster than any other COG.

  13. We’re so cold we’re hot!

  14. We built an entire Church on a calendar.

  15. We squander 3rd tithe faster than anyone else.

  16. I’ll have to check with HQ to see if I’m allowed to think that thought.

  17. Our church is headed by 5 of the 2 Witnesses!

  18. We split off from our parent church so we could be unified!

  19. We show love by isolating ourselves.

  20. Got zeal?

  21. I have outsourced thinking to my church.

  22. HWA was the End-Time Elijah.

  23. No, He Wasn’t!

  24. Yes, He Was!

  25. Bickering R Us.


  1. Funny stuff here! I'm using this article for Bible study right now. Based on what I've read and the illustration in the UN, I think they're really trying to find a new UCG logo — something other than the globe focused on the Middle East.

    COG7 had to change its logo in recent months, after the SDA's apparently complained it was too similar to theirs.

    But I'll admit I have concerns about two points (so far) Larry Salyer raises….

    1. That "Church of God" HAS to be the name of the church. Rom. 16:16 and Heb. 12:23 indicate it doesn't have to be.

    2. We carry the "name of God" on us. Do a word study of "name" in the N.T., and you'll find far more examples showing we're to take the name of Jesus — a name Mr. Salyer sadly never uses in his article, beyond quoting a Bible passage. Joseph Tkach Jr. had a good point, when it came to that usage.

  2. John D Carmack

    Thanks, Richard. I'm not sure I understand your point about Heb 12:23, as that doesn't seem like a title.

    I believe that the COG has often shied away from Jesus' name because a lot of Protestants have misused it so much. However, it is reflective of the general human tendency to go from one ditch to another.

    Having said that, though, I still believe "Church of God" is the correct name. It isn't so much that I would object to "Church of Christ" as much as what did Jesus come to do? Jesus did not come to honor Himself. Jesus always pointed people to The Father. If we are becoming like Christ, then we should do the same.