Even on the road, bad news travels fast. I cannot find the original on the AC website, but COG Writer Dr Robert Thiel wrote “UCG loses 8 ministers in November” on the blog Church of God News. It appears it was written before the resignation of Jon Pinelli, which someone emailed me about. So, that makes 9 so far this month.
I have a question for the UCG leadership: How long can this continue and UCG still have a positive impact? On feeding the flock? On spreading the Gospel? On anything?
I’ve met Jon Pinelli, and he seemed like a decent enough man. It was obvious that he was conscientious and hard working. His resignation letter strikes me as one of heartache and inner turmoil over the internal struggles within the church. While these qualities alone don’t make a good shepherd, it really stands in opposition to the constant barrage of messages about “rebellious” spirits and so on.
Maybe he has me fooled. Like I said, I met him, which is a long way from knowing him. However, I also have met his father. Jon strikes me as a man much like his father – a man of integrity.
People are emailing me all the time these days. They want to know what is going on. They are concerned over what’s going on in Cincinnati. They are concerned over Latin America. They are concerned over the Sabbath in particular.
Well, if you really want to know what is going on, Satan has been allowed in the church. There is no point in sugar-coating it. People can point the fingers all day at each other (Isa 58, anyone?), but it is evident that some will cling to attitudes of “us” vs “them” no matter what. Satan loves to polarize people! Unfortunately, the polarization will undoubtedly continue, as reasonable people would have resolved most, if not all, of the issues by now.
Yes, I do think there are unreasonable people on at least 3 fronts. Unfortunately, the vast majority are caught in-between these groups wondering why the leaders of these groups don’t use God’s Holy Spirit to settle matters.
So, what’s going on is the gradual disintegration of what was UCG. People will continue to be challenged to submit or else, and a few have chosen the “or else” rather than violate their conscience. From the time that Roy Holladay took over, it became evident that political and legal maneuvering would become the tactic du jour. Having attorneys look over statements to members (not outsiders, but members) was only the first step in ensuring that a political (not a righteous) foothold was gained in the organization. From then on out, every challenge has been met with name calling, hostility and legal red tape unprecedented in my memory of the church.
Jesus promised His Church would prevail. He did not promise it would be easy. He did not promise the church would not be attacked from without. He did not promise the church would not be attacked from within. He did not promise a large, mammoth mega-church. In short, He did not promise a rose garden.
In the meantime, I believe that God is strengthening those who would seek His will. I’m still betting that by February, the chickens will come home to roost. However, it could take until June before something occurs to force people to choose a path.
On the other hand, God could allow UCG to just continue gradually dissolving. At least a split would mean a power base is established for a new organization. However, a gradual coalescing of strong believers from the grass roots on up might make for a spiritually stronger church, albeit a smaller one.
Maybe that’s what is needed for the time of the end.
Ask yourself today: Who is teaching what the Bible says? Who displays the attitude that Jesus had? Who shows good fruits and not just talks the talk?
Wherever you see the fruit, there is God’s Spirit, no?