The latest crisis in United Church of God an International Association (UCGia, or UCG for short) seems to indicate that the Churches of God organizations will continue to get smaller and smaller. Evidently, there are those who desire exactly that, but I’m not addressing those folks. Rather, I am addressing those who really want to live God’s way of life – all His ways and not some manmade way of worshipping God.
The trend within the COG movement since the Great Disappointment has been the same for the most part: Splits who later split and spin-off and split some more. There is one obvious exception to the rule, though. RCG/WCG under Herbert W Armstrong (HWA) grew beyond any human’s expectations. At one point, the Plain Truth Magazine had something close to 8 million subscribers, and the Church membership was over 100,000 worldwide (I’ve seen higher estimates).
Of course, even the rise in membership of WCG wasn’t a steady climb. It had its own splits, but it defied the odds by still climbing in membership until the death of HWA. After the death of HWA, though, WCG was eventually shattered and splintered.
What the crisis in UCG shows, IMO, is that the trend towards more and more splits are likely to continue.
People look at me strange, but I will keep asking one key question: “Does God want a megachurch?” I keep asking it because I myself am not sure of the answer. However, if God wanted a megachurch, it would seem that the persecution of the disciples in the first century would have been counterproductive. What happened instead of killing the Church, however, was that the disciples took the message of the Gospel with them wherever they travelled and the Church grew.
However, there is something different in the end time that somehow doesn’t to seem to quite fit. There is a prophecy that has always seemed unusual.
11Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD:
If there is a large organized church in the end times, then you would think that it would be easy to find the words of God.
We used to think the church would be smaller because of persecution, and that well may be true. However, a question has to be asked. A pretty disturbing question, actually.
Is the famine due to the fault of the Church in remaining together?