Thou Shalt Not Rebel (Submit to UCG or Else)

We are the Borg.  You will be assimilated.  Resistance is futile.

Think about it.  All of the Bible verses that are used to show you should not rebel against authority.  Naturally, Korah is always brought up.  One interesting take is that the Pharisees rebelled against Jesus, which is sort of makes my head hurt (after all, Jesus wasn’t even born a Levite!).  Then, there is Aaron and Miriam who murmured against Moses.  The Children of Israel also murmured and paid a great price.  Then, David is often trotted out as the counterpart, as he did not rebel against Saul.

Hmmmm, how many of these examples involve Moses?

Well, I suppose that next, we will see the COE part the Ohio River as proof of their divine calling.  No?  I don’t suggest bringing up water from underground at the home office, as it gets pretty icy there in the winter time.  Maybe fiery hail would melt the ice, though.

Seriously, though, have any one of them talked face to face with God, as Moses did?  BTW, that’s not an invitation to say you did.

According to what they are literally saying, though, Moses was wrong.  He was a rebel.  He fought against the authority of Pharaoh of Egypt.  His sin is worse than witchcraft.

Oh, and he was rude!  He didn’t beg Pharaoh.  Imagine if Charlton Heston said, “Um, Pharaoh, sir.  Would you please let the Israelites go?”  Did he do that?  No!  He boomed out, “Let My people go!”

Speaking of Jesus, He had no right to speak to the religious leaders as rudely as He did, either.  They were appointed by God, after all.  Can you imagine if He said, “Um, sir.  Have you examined yourself and compared your attitudes against the Torah?”  Wasn’t it more like, “Hypocrites!”?  How many times do you read that Jesus spoke with “authority”?

What about John?  “You brood of vipers!” (NIV), seemed to be his expression of love towards them.

What about the prophets?  Many were harsh towards the king – you know, the head honcho.  As a result, some paid for their words with their lives.  One even confronted Eli, the high priest!  That man of God told Eli that God would raise up “a faithful priest”, implying that Eli was an unfaithful priest!  Even a very young Samuel had to relay that Eli knew of the “iniquity” of his house and that his sons “made themselves vile”.

I guess Samuel had no doves around to tell him to not rebel against his elders.

Finally, everyone in UCG is a rebel if they attended WCG in 1995.  After all, God placed Tkach into power, as per Ro 13:1.  Leaving WCG, then, was an act of rebellion.

Oh, and did I mention that HWA himself was a rebel?  How dare he question and then leave the legal authority and leadership of CG7!

David and Saul

Of course, the doves like to point to King David because he did not revile Saul.  That’s no small thing, either, seeing as Saul was obviously intent upon killing David!

What is interesting is that Saul actually was labeled a rebel by Samuel!  Why?  The first time it was because he sacrificed to God rather than wait for Samuel to do so.  Now, Samuel was a prophet and a judge.  Technically, Saul as king had authority over him.  Yet, Saul rebelled?  Yes, but against whom and how?  Against Samuel?  No, against God!  Saul was not authorized by God to make sacrifices.  Uzziah paid the price for the same type of presumption (2Ch 26:18-21).  The priests did not hesitate to physically force him out of the Temple, either!

Then, Saul just out and out disobeyed and left King Agag alive (as well as some sheep).  The question is whether or not Saul even really realized he had sinned.  How did he greet Samuel?  “Blessed be thou of the LORD: I have performed the commandment of the LORD” (1Sa 15:13).

Is it any wonder that those who followed David on more than one occasion viewed delivering Saul into David’s hands as a deliverance from God of David’s enemy?

Ironically, who was the real rebel and who was it that complained about rebellion?

 8That all of you have conspired against me, and there is none that sheweth me that my son hath made a league with the son of Jesse, and there is none of you that is sorry for me, or sheweth unto me that my son hath stirred up my servant against me, to lie in wait, as at this day? (1 Samuel 22:8, King James Version)

Interesting how the person who was in charge, but really shouldn’t have been and was really rebelling against God, was the one complaining about rebellion.

He even went as far as to accuse the priests of sedition.

 13And Saul said unto him, Why have ye conspired against me, thou and the son of Jesse, in that thou hast given him bread, and a sword, and hast enquired of God for him, that he should rise against me, to lie in wait, as at this day? (1 Samuel 22:13, King James Version)

What is important to realize is that at first David tried to work it out with Saul, if for no other reason than because of his close friendship with Jonathan.  Eventually, David started to distance himself in order to preserve his life.

So, did David stay at the palace and submit even after it was obvious to Jonathan that Saul was trying to kill him?  Did David continue to try to work it out even after it was evident that there was no reasoning with Saul?  Frankly, no he didn’t.  Was he a rebel?  No, but he was labeled as one nonetheless.

So, doves, do you really think the example of Saul and David is appropriate?  Because it seems that as of today, Clyde Kilough, Roy Demarest and Roger West are modern day Davids.  They chose to distance themselves rather than continue.

Notice that David was against killing Saul.  David was not against telling the truth nor about keeping quiet about it forever.

Read the Psalms if you don’t believe me (in fact, read them even if you do!).  David calls Saul “ruthless” and “without regard for God” (Ps 54:3 NIV), asks for evil “on those who slander me” (v 5), calls Saul one of the “evildoers”(Ps 53:4; 59:2) and “bloodthirsty men” (Ps 59:2), and compares Saul and his army to “ravenous beasts” (Ps 57:4).

Back To Moses

So, what of the many examples of murmurings against Moses?  What was that all about?

David could call Saul an “evildoer” because he was.  When Israel murmured and accused Moses, they were wrong, and Moses really was being led by God.  Since God was visibly working through Moses, they had no excuse, and their accusations really were against God.

 7And in the morning, then ye shall see the glory of the LORD; for that he heareth your murmurings against the LORD: and what are we, that ye murmur against us?

 8And Moses said, This shall be, when the LORD shall give you in the evening flesh to eat, and in the morning bread to the full; for that the LORD heareth your murmurings which ye murmur against him: and what are we? your murmurings are not against us, but against the LORD. (Exodus 16:7-8, King James Version)

Moses, who incidentally spoke to God face-to-face, worked miracles before the people that should have left no doubt that he was sent by God.  Can we say the same about the UCG leadership?

Where Is God Working?

So, is God visibly working through the current UCG leadership?  What are the fruits?

 13For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.

 14For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

 15But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.

 16This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.

 17For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.

 18But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.

 19Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,

 20Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance (“discord” in NIV), emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,

 21Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:13-21, King James Version)

I don’t know about you, but I just don’t see the love when members are being suspended for pressing “like” on a Facebook post.  I don’t see the love when ministers are fired for telling the truth about how they feel about certain actions.  I don’t see the love when no admission of wrongdoing is ever given, but everyone is just told to shut up and submit.

It is difficult to feel joy in an environment like that.  I have actually heard of cases of elders listening in on conversations in order to rat people out.  What is this?  1995?  PCG?

<sarcasm>And, of course it is so peaceful these days.</sarcasm>

I don’t see the forbearance when members’ and ministers’ opinions are marginalized and censored.  In fact, even the slightest criticism, constructive or not, is deleted or followed up on by threatening letters.  And, apparently, the elders have received far worse.

Is kindness where you stand up and tell everyone about love and humility and then tell them where the door is?  Is kindness a “fasting paper” that vilifies the previous administration?

I’m still waiting for some goodness to come out of this.

I have seen lots of faithfulness – to an organization, to a group of men.  I have seen statements coming out of home office that at least seemed to partially address issues, only for supporters of the COE to rip open the unhealed wounds.  I have seen people vehemently support a paper that was already apologized for and withdrawn, saying it “was not defective”.  Really?  Then why was there an apology (the only one I’ve seen thus far, I should add) for it?  Why the constant setup scenarios for changing the approach we take to the Sabbath if we are remaining faithful to what God says?  Why the constant badgering about “submission” when if the truth were told wise and Godly servant leadership would know better how to deal with people?

<sarcasm>And, it is such a gentle club that ministers and members get hit over the head with.</sarcasm>

<sarcasm><sarcasm>And, self-control means, “I am in control.  You are not.  Submit.”</sarcasm></sarcasm>

The Bottom Line, My Message to the COE

At the end of the day, I don’t feel that my status as a member is appreciated by anyone in charge in Cincinnati.  You in Cincy don’t have to know me personally or even the things I volunteer for to appreciate me, either.  I don’t even believe you appreciate the elders that keep things going around here.  It seems as though all you want are smiles, prayers and, of course, tithes.

You say you want to do a work.  In the history of United, I haven’t seen very many that actually understood what the work is.  In fact, I’ve seen those that had a better understanding of evangelism forced out.  Rather, you would want control over even that.

Instead of concentrating upon the Gospel, the focus evidently is upon logos, bylaws and coming up with nit-picky justifications for not going to your brother.

Instead of upholding doctrinal purity, you would rather give excuses as to why people should remain on the UCG payroll.

Instead of avoiding the appearance of a conflict of interest, you would rather have someone on the ground who can protect your physical assets.  On top of that, physical assets are more important than winning the trust of men who have been recently hurt and confused.

Instead of truth, you offer lies.  You say you are adhering to the processes all the while finding ways to circumvent them in various ways: by putting out doctrinal sounding papers without the knowledge of the doctrinal committee, by ignoring the will of a significant portion of the GCE, by removing the “opposition” from key places and replacing them with your buddies.  You lie by saying you are not changing doctrine when the reality is that your supporters openly continue to attempt to unapologetically water down the Sabbath.  You say you are seeking reconciliation with Latin America and want to meet with the ministers there, but you leave the one (1!) ministers who did meet with you out to dry, thus leading to his resignation.

These things have been documented over and over and over again.

To all of the COE, I say, if you want to be leaders, then act like leaders.  You are responsible for the entire organization and the mess it is in.  That’s what being a leader means.  If you don’t want to fix it, or if you don’t know how, maybe it is time to do something else.  Why do you want to run my church into the ground?


  1. I bet you can hear the footsteps now. I am sure the church hitmen are heading your way.

  2. Very well thought out post. A true rebel is the one whom rebels against God, not man. I think another interesting one is the Apostles and the Sanhedrin in Acts. They sure didn't say "okay, okay, we will stop preaching about Jesus."
    Instead they said "We obey God, rather than man!" This meant they were in further rebellion to the religous authorities!

  3. Wow! Venom runs deep and strong not only with leadership but with the flock!

    It seems to me a post like this runs the organization in the ground.

  4. Anonymous wrote: "Wow! Venom runs deep and strong not only with leadership but with the flock!"

    You are entitled to your opinion, of course. Please just tell me that you do not counsel battered women.

  5. After all, God placed Tkach into power, as per Ro 13:1.

    And in the 1985 Trumpets sermon which apparently was his last, Herbert Armstrong said whoever replaced him was the one you should follow.

    I remember Gerald Waterhouse playing that audio clip several years later, during a Holy Day visit to my WCG congregation. Except, of course, he moved to UCG a few years later.

    In the history of United, I haven’t seen very many that actually understood what the work is. In fact, I’ve seen those that had a better understanding of evangelism forced out.

    And whatever happened to Jim O'Brien and Bill Jacobs's spinoff group, anyway?

    Instead of concentrating upon the Gospel, the focus evidently is upon logos, bylaws and coming up with nit-picky justifications for not going to your brother.

    But doesn't it prove the UCG leadership are the law-abiding citizens — the real law-keeping conservatives, as opposed to those other guys?

  6. Richard wrote: "But doesn't it prove the UCG leadership are the law-abiding citizens — the real law-keeping conservatives, as opposed to those other guys?"

    You mean like those in Mk 7:8 were law-keeping conservatives?

  7. Someone mentioned to me these groups springing up COG-Boondocks etc sound more like the vision Ray Wooten had at the beginning of UCG which lead to his departure. To ask the same question Richard asked of O'Brien and Jacobs, what ever happened to him anyway?

    This structure emerging, that appear to be a cog articles of confederation, may be a grand structure for those who want to get together in the warm embrace of common greviences but it is doomed to fail if one believes a concerted effort to preach the gospel is a priority.

  8. After watching carefully this unfold for the last several months it's clear to me that this is indeed mostly about power. It's also telling that most of the ringleaders of the insurgency seem to be either of the previous adminstration or the regional pastors. That's a clue right there what's going on and it's a shame that they have taken this to the level of dragging members in as hostages and bargaining chips.

    Some of the methods used are unconscionable.

    Initially I had my doubts about whether this was "all about power" but recent events have shown me that is indeed mostly true.

    That being said, this doesn't mean that I agree with everything the administration has done. It's my hope they'll take a look at this and learn from it.

  9. Anonymous wrote: "That being said, this doesn't mean that I agree with everything the administration has done. It's my hope they'll take a look at this and learn from it."

    I honestly don't know what it will take for that to occur. Perhaps they need to go back and review servant leadership. For it to have reached the level it has makes no sense to me.

  10. O'Brien is still around. See Church of God Cincinnati and Lexington. It appears he still has a winter family weekend as well.

    I had to hunt for Bill Jacobs, though. It appears his ministry is found at LifeResource Ministries. The copyright on the site is current, but not all of the links work, so I don't know how active it really is.

  11. Looks like Ray Wooten's ministry is now called United Christian Ministries.

    Update 24 Oct 2020: Ray Wooten passed away in 2014. Shortly thereafter, his family announced UCM would disband. Apparently, there was an attempt to reboot his ministry under the name United Christian Church of God (UCCG), but I cannot find any web references to it. Source: The Journal, Issue 179 (archived page).

  12. My point exactly, they are all an insignifcant footnote among the cog's, little more than an answer to a trivia question, much like this new structure will be in a couple years.

  13. John Carmack,

    This was another thought-provoking post. When I read the following questions from your post I thought of something that was said at the Indianapolis Conference on 1 May 1995.

    You wrote: "…Where Is God Working?

    So, is God visibly working through the current UCG leadership? What are the fruits?…"

    Excellent questions! And it is interesting that Dennis Luker is again involved in a "question and answer" mode today.

    After the mid-morning break of the Indianapolis Conference on 1 May 1995 and during a question and answer session a friend, amongst others, sitting at my table there responded with a concern about the ministry of Melchizedek (Quoting from a transcript of that session) as follow and I added comments contained within [brackets]:

    “…[Name withheld:] Thank you very much. I am [name withheld] from the [name withheld] congregation. I have a question, not so much procedurally, but I think that people will have this question. It is that in the New Covenant, you have the ministry of Melchizedek, which is entitled to pick up tithes and offerings from the people. I said, how do you present yourselves, in relationship to the ministry of Melchizedek? Are you claiming that the ministry of Melchizedek has moved from Pasadena to this new board of elders? Can you clarify that from Hebrews 7, how that has happened? Because you have got to explain that to the people; that this is the ministry of Melchizedek?

    Dennis Luker: Well, I won’t try to give you the answers off the top of my head, but if we are the ministers of Jesus Christ, then we are the ministers of Melchizedek and they don’t have to be in any one location, do they? It’s whenever they would be and wherever the people are. So we do recognize that we definitely are correct. We’ll need to address that issue. And we can do so, whatever Board of Directors is elected. We know that those things will need to – but remember the Board of Directors is not in charge. Right? Remember the chart, the organizational chart, remember the annual conference of all the elders? Also remember that this is transitional. But that issue will be addressed in more detail, when we can have many of us together to discuss it, to make sure we give a proper and accurate answer…”

    Well, it is some just over 15 years later and I don't believe that Dennis Luker ever resolved that issue nor provided "…a proper and acurate answer…"


  14. @Anonymous John: Well, you bring up something interesting, especially seeing as I was just reading yesterday about unfinished business. It is hard to believe that its been 15 years but there are several loose strings lying around. Seems like that is part of the problem, in fact.

  15. How interesting to read at "Thoughts en Route" today that Dennis Luker offered remarks Monday at the funeral of Diber Apartian — LCG's Dibar Apartian.

    Imagine the rumors that might start.

  16. Should start none. It was an appropriate gesture by someone who knew Dibar Apartian for many years.

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