Those who are familiar with the origins of the ICG and the CGI, will remember that this church was born in pain. There were some 554 of us who attended the first CGI Feast of Tabernacles in 1978, and virtually all of us who attended had suffered through disfellowshipment from another religious organization. This disfellowshipment had resulted in being shunned by friends of many years, and in some cases, even by family. Some had been disfellowshiped for asking embarrassing questions of their pastor, and others had been disfellowshiped for talking to people who had been disfellowshiped. The hurt this causes is hard to understand unless you have been there. In order to fully understand the policy of the ICG on disfellowshiping, and the theology behind it, we recommend reading the article entitled "Excommunication, What Does the Bible Teach?"
~ The Intercontinental Church of God, Guidelines for Field Churches, retrieved 1 January 2011 from http://www.intercontinentalcog.org/fieldchurchguidelines.shtml
If you were in the Church in the 70s, perhaps you have heard the thundering of “marking” a particular group of people who had, according to those in charge, committed some grievous sin that required a disfellowshipping. I remember two such occasions, actually. Perhaps the largest for the congregation we were in was when HWA changed Pentecost from Monday to Sunday, along with a change in the divorce and remarriage doctrine. Actually, there was a third that was changed too, but I cannot recall what it was, and I don’t know of anyone railing about whatever it was.
You have to ask yourself if such pronouncements of public accusations do any good, especially once the decision to split was already made. Once the split is made, does it make sense to burn the bridge and barricade the road? If you really ever want hope that the relationship will be restored at some future date, is this the way to do it? If your answer is, “No,”, then now is the time to determine in your mind that you will not do so to others you have loved and known, whether you leave or stay at United.
Hopefully, not everyone will burn their bridges, in spite of the few that seem to do so gladly.
Sometimes, peace can only come by a separation. It’s not the ideal. It’s not the desired outcome. However, sometimes it is just a reality. Yet, separation doesn’t end the responsibility to try to live at peace, even if it is peace at a distance.
Many in some other fellowships have extended their thoughts of encouragement and their prayers for their UCG brethren on both sides. I know LCG in particular has been mentioned a number of times, someone mentioned either CBCG or CGCF, and certainly David Hulme’s group. All were warm and encouraging and showed a real love and concern.
If you are leaving UCG, then should you show any less? If you are staying with UCG, should you show any less?
Perhaps someday, COG-WA and UCG will have a chance to talk things over and have a mutual understanding. Frankly, even if that never happens in this age, we should endeavor to put aside hurt feelings and anger and keep those relationships open.
The work that Jesus did was to restore man’s relationship with his Creator. That should be uppermost in our minds. May God grant us all the ability and wisdom to do so and to be like Him.