It’s sad that some people would listen to such a rumor combined with the other rumors, that we’re slowly turning Protestant and we’re doing away with the Law, and then they become emotionally polarized and leave.
Another rumor that circulates is that we’re doing away with the holy days. After all, if you believe the first rumor that we’re getting rid with the Sabbath, then it’s not that hard to believe the next one, that we’re doing away with the holy days. Of course, we have a whole booklet on it entitled, "God’s Festivals and Holy Days."
But yet, the rumor circulates that we’re doing away with it [the Sabbath]. Very sad that people devise such evil things and spread them around to polarize people and pull them out of the church.
People who tell you such rumors–who hear such surmisings–what we should say to them is, "You know, you’re listening to a wrong source. You must be reading some bad material. Because if you eat out of a garbage can long enough, you’re gonna get sick."
And that’s what happens to people who read that kind of literature.
~ Tkach, Jr, Joseph. (3 Apr 1993). Sermon excerpts, as published in Rumors on Exit Support Network. Retrieved 8 Nov 2010 from http://www.exitsupportnetwork.com/resrch/wcg/rumors.htm.
Just saying you aren’t changing doctrine is not enough. Just saying you aren’t doing away with the Sabbath and holy days is not enough. In this post-1995 world, some members expect more – a lot more.
Up until the time the “Sabbath paper” was written and published, the current United Church of God (UCGia, or UCG for short) council and administration had a pretty good plausibility edge. The turn-over of the council was nothing new. Asking the president to step down was nothing new. How much does the average member really care about who is in charge, anyhow?
Seems to me that the average lay member cares about the Gospel, the availability of elders for anointing and counseling, fellowship, praying and caring for those who are sick and in need – and doctrine. I don’t mean “doctrine” as in whether or not lipstick is allowed, but “doctrine” as in how are the commandments in the Old and New Testaments interpreted and applied.
Those who did not care about the Sabbath and holy days have probably been derailed already. It really is amazing that people can live through 1995 and then suddenly stop attending. And, I mean “stop” as in not even keeping the Sabbath any longer.
Yet, it does happen. I’ve seen it more than once.
Can such people gain power within the church and begin to change things? Well, it happened once before did it not?
All of this is the backdrop to “it” – the “Sabbath paper”. All of the intrigue and political wrangling pale into insignificance by the question of whether or not UCG is going to change doctrine. Unless, of course, it is being deliberately misinterpreted as part of a political ploy to further discredit the current COE and administration.
“Why the Sabbath Paper?”
That was the question. “I read through it twice, and I’ll admit I was very distracted because I couldn’t figure out why it was even published.”
“Well, it was published because a smear campaign was being conducted against the family in question.”
“Now, I’ll admit that the only conclusion I could come away with originally was that it was written to try to defend them, but I still don’t understand. If the critics of the COE were conducting this campaign and putting the family into the spotlight, then [isn’t the administration] wronging them further by doing the same thing again?”
“They had asked us to.”
OK, now it was making more sense. The family had filed an appeal, but that didn’t stop others from turning against them. Feeling harassed, they wanted some emotional and organizational support.
“I don’t think it met it’s goal,” I finally stated.
In fact, what I couldn’t bear to tell him is that the doctrine rumors had been circulating for a while by UCG critics. There had been claims of fictitious polls and of a “liberal” slant even before Clyde Kilough was asked to step down. Now, here was exactly the supporting evidence they needed.
“Why,” I had to ask, “if it was still under appeal, and if they just wanted a supportive statement, didn’t [the administration] just issue a statement that said: ‘There is a couple in Latin America who have asked for a review of their particular situation, it is under review, and as such we wish to respect their confidentiality by not further commenting on it. Meanwhile, we request everyone leave them alone”?
“I don’t know,” he admitted. “In hindsight, it was a badly written paper. The goal was not to make a statement about the Sabbath, but rather to defend the family against an ongoing smear campaign.”
“Well, then I have to say again that it failed to meet its goal and even created more problems.”
- “I wish [Dennis Luker in his messages] would stop being so vague. Just spit it out!”
- “I think in the future the council should consider using someone other than Roy Holladay to communicate it’s wishes. He seems to be in the middle of a lot of misunderstandings.”
- “So today I posted a comment [on the Inside United: Realtime blog] on the letter: ‘Matthew 7:1-5 rules should apply. Right? 🙂 ‘
”And guess what — it was DELETED by this evening!”
- “Mr. Holladay would take the sermons. … A member called me and … said that it was announced that my ‘credentials had been removed.’ Incredulous, I said, you mean he said I was suspended. He said no, Mr. Holladay said your credentials had been removed.”
- “This message was also confusing. Roy admits he did not clearly state to me the Council’s intent on Wednesday night. But he says the Council had wanted him as president to address their concerns with me. He did this on June 15, so why was it necessary to address them once again? What was meant by the statement ‘if so desired’? Desired by whom? That was not clear. He then says the ‘request’ was not a suggestion.”
Do we have a concerted effort to change doctrine? Or, do we have an old-fashioned communications break-down?
When Dennis Luker says, “We are not changing doctrine,” can you see why it seems so weak given:
- Our history of top leadership lying to us (see opening quote)
- The lack of specifics on any number of subjects
- A “Sabbath” paper that was never intended to be about doctrine yet still appears to water it down via application
- The appearance of heavy handed tactics in conjunction with an apparent arrogant, defiant and adversarial attitude towards any and all who disagree
- Hypocritical stances like complaining about comments on other sites being blocked while blocking them on their own
You know, it’s actually pretty simple. If you are not changing doctrine, then come right out and restate the position. Instead of viewing any and all criticism by deleting comments and calling your opponents names like “rebellious”, “defiant”, how about actually dealing with the problem? Instead of calling sites you don’t agree with “dissident” saying they are all Internet rumors, how about giving people some facts?
For starters, what is the “official” stance on the Sabbath? At this point, I don’t really know. Perhaps, Dennis Luker should give a sermon about the Sabbath rather than ominous sounding themes that can have double or triple meanings. At this point, just standing up and reading “Sunset to Sunset – God’s Sabbath Rest” would be a refreshing change of pace.
So, Who Do You Believe?
Someone more or less asked me which side am I on. You do realize that there are more than 2 sides, right? In fact, there are at least 4, not counting the most important one: Jesus’ viewpoint.
How is He speaking to us now? How can we hear Him in all this noise?