Calming the Waters

I saw that letter also. I’m somewhat less enthusiastic about it than you but I agree it is a clear statement.

~ Anonymous comment on “Bravo, Denny!

While UCG President Dennis Luker has recently put out a message on “The Sacredness of the Sabbath Day” on Inside United: Realtime and directed that the message be emailed and hard copies distributed, it should be noted that some still have reservations, both in and out of UCG.  It is a great beginning step in restoring confidence in the current administration’s and COE’s leadership.  However, I caution that it will take more to swing some opinions.

I thought this [Sabbath article published in CG7’s Bible Advocate magazine] would cause CG7 problems.  And just like UCG, CG7 has decided to try to readdress the matter.

The fact that the letters about the article were only 6:1 against shows that there is a spirit of excessive compromise still in CG7.  I read over the published letters in that issue and while some see the problems in CG7, others do not.  I perhaps should also add that even though Elder Burrell says CG7’s position remains unchanged, he never did say what that position is.  That is disappointing.

~ Dr Robert Thiel, “CG7 Gets Complaints About Sabbath Position

Please note how Thiel states that just stating a position has not changed is not convincing.  Luker’s recent letter to the membership does state some of the current position and provides links to various documents in support of that statement.  Once you cross a line, people want to see you back it up.  After the Tkach era, you should be able to appreciate why this would be so.

The credibility of the current UCG administration is very low right now. If they want to put an end to accusations about changing the Sabbath doctrine, they need to be abundantly clear that they are not playing word games. It would be easy for UCG to liberalize policy on operating a business on the Sabbath, and say it is not a "doctrinal change" but just a change in policy or in minor details of a doctrine, or something like that. Yet, doctrine is teaching, and such a change in the policy or judgment concerning a member operating a business on the Sabbath would indeed be a doctrinal change.

~, “New Post by Mr. Dennis Luker on Sabbath Issue

These are just a sampling of comments.  Note they are not vicious attacks, they are not wild-eyed accusations, and they are not disrespectful.  Frankly, I don’t think it is a bad idea to have concrete declarations of what the UCG leadership believes.

No, it is not being silly.  It is about restoring confidence.  It is about a church showing it really does care about the members.  It is about healing wounds.  It is about leaving the 99 and going after the one.

A Bigger More Loving Step

Actually, it needs to go further; there are other important concerns as well.  A lot of what appears to be heavy-handed tactics and statements about doctrine not changing really come to a very fine point.

When someone stands before you and basically says, “Believe this because I tell you”, “Do this because I tell you”, “If you cannot submit, then find the nearest exit”, then how much respect is that showing the people being addressed?  Does that show love and concern for the person’s welfare?

It is time for the Church, the entire Body of Christ, to realize that we are all human beings created in the image of God.  We are destined to be His children!  What does that say about how we should treat one another?  How ministers should treat ministers?  How lay people should treat lay people?  How ministers should treat lay people?  How lay people should treat ministers?

PC, Legal Opinions, Etc.

Lack of respect can be shown in various ways – too numerous to list here.  Some of these are very similar, but not exactly alike.  Most of these have been used in some form by every side in the turmoil.  However, some of the ways that disrespect have been shown that have been uppermost in my mind lately:

  • Attitude of bitterness and unforgiveness.  I list this first because it is pretty in your face, and it is downright surprising to see the attitude that some “Christians” will display.  I see this on many forums and on Facebook.  I have heard of one case where someone went back 20 years to dig up some dirt on an individual, in spite of the fact that things were taken care of in the manner that was prescribed at that time.
  • Spirit of judgmentalism.  On some forums, every statement is about how “evil” so-and-so is or how “unrighteous” a certain group of people are.  And, some are just labelled as “rebellious” regardless of whether or not their complaints are valid.
  • Political correctness.&#160 This when you have to say nice words, legal words, get legal advice, talk around the subject and always be sure to label your opponent(s).  This is a cancer affecting all aspects of American society.  Basically, if you aren’t part of the groupthink, then you are involved in hate speech.  This is the highest form of arrogance, whether it is politics or the church.
  • My way is the right way, and all others are wrong.  This isn’t just about the UCG administration, although they have been out in front with this on occasion.  It is basically a purposeful lack of empathy.  After all, if your opinion doesn’t matter, why should I try to understand you?  It can be, “I am in charge, you are not, so submit to me or else.”  However, there have been other parties that say things that show this attitude as well.  It is apparent that some will label others as “unrighteous” simply because someone does not align with their opinion.
  • We will be transparent as long as you agree with us.  We are not interested in your facts or opinions if they contradict ours.  This is pretense, and it is hypocrisy.  Christians should be able to say what is on their mind in a thoughtful and respectful manner and not fear reprisals.  They should be able to expect enough respect for other Christians to listen.  Concern over corporate image should not overshadow true humility in Christ.

Submit to Whom?

 21Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. (Ephesians 5:21, King James Version)

Who is “yourselves” he is addressing?  Lay people only?  Ministers only?  Those you agree with only?


  1. Hello John
    Good points and I agree with you–there needs to be more about this Sabbath paper release and the statements made. For example; "If you are the sole owner of a business, you should close it down on the Sabbath day.
    But (IF) the people who work for you still don’t keep the Sabbath. They may choose to
    work a second job for another employer or they may choose to do other activities that
    would not be in keeping with the Sabbath." this quote was taken from an approved document by the COE in 2003 dealing with another matter associated with the keeping of the Sabbath, but it seems very simple and directly to the point. Why was this not repeated in the Sabbath paper and the appropriate steps taken to have this applied in the case of the Chilean family who keep their business open on the Sabbath and Holy Days?
    Perhaps there is something to this doctrinal shift away from their previous approach—if not then an appology to the people about them getting it wrong in the recent Sabbath paper should come. (Just some thoughts–right or wrong)
    The editor

  2. Sure enough it is gone. Thanks to the miracle of downloading it will live on though. I figured it would become "unavailable."

  3. Perhaps Mr. Burrell expected COG-7 members would look up the church's "statement of faith" for themselves. Mr. Thiel certainly could have done that. Here's what that statement says:

    8. The Sabbath
    The seventh-day Sabbath is God’s gift to humanity from creation, was written into the Ten Commandments by God’s finger, kept and taught by Jesus, and observed by the apostolic church. A memorial of both creation and redemption, the Sabbath should be faithfully celebrated by believers now as a day of rest, worship, and well-doing.