Reminder of What the UCG-COGWA Split Was All About 6


Perhaps #ScottAshley could quit spreading ungodly lies long enough to do #SelfExamination prior to Passover and repent of his slander.

johnny-automatic-splitting-end-grain

Hidden in the midst of slander is sometimes a grain of truth. UCG’s Scott Ashley’s excoriation of James Malm recently contains the gem that the split was over power rather than any change of doctrine. What he didn’t state, so ever conveniently, was how power hungry the UCG COE was, and apparently still is given his attitude.  Ashley seems to forget how low of an opinion God carries towards fools — those who act and behave as though He does not exist, thinking they can act with impunity.

Of course, it was UCG who wielded their power by forcing resignations of ministers in spite of promising they could stay on, even serving Harold Rhodes resignation papers while still in the hospital.  They were so totally against the previous administration that they forced a revote of the move to Texas (in spite of already owning property there) and then forced those in favor of it out of office and eventually out of the organization altogether.  Dennis Luker even called for a “peaceful separation” because their lust for power was such that no dissent would be allowed.

If there were charges that UCG was changing doctrine, it was because they were giving that impression themselves.  It was quite obvious from their “Sabbath Paper“, as it came to be known, as well as their subsequent elevation of John Elliot that they would reward only those who  toed the party line.  The decisions of the COE was all that mattered, and the Bible was secondary, not to mention how to treat one another.  They beautifully orchestrated their desired shedding of those who did not make an idol out of governance and hid behind bylaws in order to only retain those who would value the leadership position above God’s.

While I’ve heard rumors from time to time of those in COGWA who would use a heavy-handed approach, I have not witnessed it firsthand.  I would say that there is a definite lesson to be learned from the split about the emphasis upon worshiping government and manmade traditions to those would so soon forget, however.  Those who left for that reason once could do so again.

If you have found a spelling error, please, notify us by selecting that text and pressing Ctrl+Enter.


Leave a comment

6 thoughts on “Reminder of What the UCG-COGWA Split Was All About

  • Shaun

    I’m not sure who it is that runs this site and what the intent of it is but the above comments strike me as painfully one sided.
    The “split” between UCG and COGWA did nothing for the reputation of either group. Ultimately, in order for there to be any kind of split between people there has to be an absence of love – at least on one side but, more commonly, on both sides of a split. If both sides have true love then there will be no split.
    I found some of the comments made by UCG ministers frankly embarrassing, self serving and self righteous. It certainly did them no service in their reputation both before man and God. As is inferred above, God is not mocked; He knows the heart and will visit upon all what is worthy for their works.
    By the same token, however, the above writer chooses to ignore the flip side of the coin. The language used ‘ministers’ immediately following the vote against Texas at the GCE was not even appropriate for a sailors reunion let alone a discussion amongst men of God. The so called “Sabbath Paper” should have been through the doctrinal committee in record time but remained there for an extended period, serving to further incite rumours that there was trouble in UCG. It didn’t actually become clear to everyone what the trouble was until after the split. Who was one of the main figures in the split by COGWA? Jim Franks. Who was responsible for the “Sabbath Paper” becoming bogged down in the doctrinal committee? The head of the doctrinal committee – Jim Franks. He leaves with COGWA and suddenly, amazingly, the “Sabbath Paper” is released by the committee. Surprise, surprise – no change to the understanding of UCG on the Sabbath.

    • John D Post author

      What do you want me to say? It is the typical UCG supporter that has their head buried in the sand and doesn’t know or care what is going on even within their own church. It is common sense as well as good netiquette to find out more about a site, especially one that has been public since 2008, before posting a comment instead of proudly proclaiming you don’t know that the site is about.

      At any rate, this blog is actually quite objective on a number of matters, and I have defended some actions of UCG as well as laid some criticism down about COGWA. I also quote material instead of vague comment like, “he language used ‘ministers’ immediately following the vote against Texas at the GCE was not even appropriate” without any quotes or proof, all the while ignoring Scott Ashley’s recent and open disgusting rant that prompted this article. Of course, you did read the article, right? Or, did you read it while your head was buried in the sand?

      Yeah, one-sided like Darris McNeely’s don’t-let-the-door-on-the-way-out “sermon”?

      Also, get your facts straight. The Sabbath paper never did go before the doctrinal committee. That was problem #2 (problem #1 was that the toilet paper was published to begin with). Problem #3 was that one of the “ministers” who wrote it later became part of the doctrinal committee. UCG has no interest in sound doctrine. Period. They were interested in getting people who disagreed with them to leave. Very well. We’re gone. Get over it.

      Here’s a clue: UCG should repent. Period. If it did, then maybe it could also forgive and move on. Otherwise, it never will. It will instead keep alive the imagined slights of the past, which were mostly caused by the UCG leadership.

      • Shaun

        Ok, I certainly didn’t intend my comment to come across as hostile as it apparently has. A UCG supporter? I thought I made it quite clear that I did not support the way UCG’s human leadership handled itself during the split. I would have thought that saying I found their comments “embarrassing, self-serving and self-righteous” was critical rather than supportive.

        Obviously my comments were mis-interpreted regarding who runs this site. I knew who it was that runs this site – I actually made my first comment on this site back in 2008 on the subject of grace. What I meant by the comment regarding who runs this site was rather what the intent, what the motivation, what personal position was held by the author. I think you’ve rather cleared that one up for me already.

        In terms of the “vague comments” and lack of “quotes” regarding the vote on Texas, I hadn’t intended to hand in a detailed record complete with references and a bibliography. I was posting an opinion on a Blog – not completing a paper in a Masters or PhD. The “language” I’m referring to was from a room marked for the Latin American work immediately following the vote. The door had not been closed at that point and the meeting (if that was what was going to be held) had not yet begun. I had always presumed it was because not all the expected attendees had arrived but I didn’t ask and I suspect I’ll never know. What drew attention to the room was an angry voice exclaiming “we’ve been betrayed” but speckled with a couple of expletives delivered with some power. Another expletive laden comment agreeing with the first followed though the tone was lower and the comments then became more hushed. I knew three of the ministers in the room but, I agree, I could not identify who – if any of those three – made the comments. Nor could I confirm if the language remained in that vain for whatever it was that followed. I stand by my comments, though, that the language was not appropriate for any members of the Body of Christ.

        Interesting that you mentioned Darris McNeely’s name; that sermon as well as several public comments he made prior to that sermon were part of what I was referring to as “embarrassing, self-serving and self-righteous”. Neither those nor comments made by other so called leaders such as John Elliot did them or the general organisation of UCG any favours whatsoever. Again, I stand by my assessment of those comments as “embarrassing”.

        In terms of your suggestion that I get my facts correct regarding the Sabbath Paper; a paper on the Sabbath was 100%, absolutely, certainly before the doctrinal committee in the period immediately before the split. Secondly, it was a subject of debate and discussion amongst church members as to what was contained in the paper, heightened by the apparent delay in it being made public. I asked a member of the doctrinal committee at the time what was in the paper and why was it taking so long to be released. He would not answer, saying it was not appropriate for anyone on the committee to comment privately until the matter was complete. It would, he said, be released as soon as completed. This conversation took place during the Feast of Tabernacles prior to the split taking place.

        I have no doubt that the membership and ministry of UCG should repent – all of us, without exception, have need of repentance. That’s not a cop-out – certainly their are some in UCG who were involved in that split who have actions worthy of repentance. Similarly I have no doubt there are those involved in COGWA who have just as much need of repentance for their actions during that time. I have and continue to regularly attend congregations of various physical organisations. UCG, LCG, CBC, CBE, COGWA, CGG – it’s a regular alphabet soup out there and I have happily and continue to quite happily attend all of them – with the exception of COGWA who’s congregations I’ve never attended. That said I have numerous good friends who consider themselves members of COGWA and know they are utterly committed to God’s truth. It is certainly not my place to sit in judgement of any minister or member but, at the same time, by their fruits you shall know them.

        For me that is by what they say and what they do which I am very mindful applies equally to all that I say – including on Blogs such as this. As such my intent is not to promote an agenda nor a desire to convince a reader of one way or another but rather that the truth, the whole truth, – as much as is possible – be known. That will never be possible with men. My desire is not to cause offence in any way – which I seem to have caused you – but just to pursue the publication of truth to what extent I am able.

        • John D Post author

          Shaun wrote: “Obviously my comments were mis-interpreted regarding who runs this site. I knew who it was that runs this site – I actually made my first comment on this site back in 2008 on the subject of grace. What I meant by the comment regarding who runs this site was rather what the intent, what the motivation, what personal position was held by the author. I think you’ve rather cleared that one up for me already.”

          I’ll admit I’m rather baffled. If you’ve been around since 2008, you already know the motivations and positions I hold, and you also know that no organization is beyond approach. The perceived offense was that you were a drive-by commenter that happened upon an article in a Google search, and I’ve received my fair share of those over time.

          “I have no doubt that the membership and ministry of UCG should repent – all of us, without exception, have need of repentance. That’s not a cop-out – certainly their are some in UCG who were involved in that split who have actions worthy of repentance.”

          Again, your point alludes me. All of us need repentance on a daily basis, I’d argue. I’ve posted about the organizational problems of all the major COG groups. This article, however, is about one in particular; it is not about the others. It is also about people in that group, ministers in fact, that cannot seem to drop the past and move on.

          That’s not one-sided. That is staying on topic.

          Oh, and one other thing: I believe you are still confused about “the Sabbath Paper”. The doctrinal committee was asked to review a specific case in Latin America, not an actual paper. In fact, in all of my conversations with “my friend”, the topic of an actual doctrinal paper never came up. “The Sabbath Paper” bypassed the committee altogether, and I provided a link in the article to it. Yes, they did rule against the L.A. couple, so to speak, and upheld the traditional view of the Sabbath after the split. So, ask yourself, “Why put out such a paper to begin with?” The answer is obviously that they wanted to drive a wedge between certain factions within the leadership and the membership. It was a ploy, and it was not one of integrity.

  • debbiefnewman

    Hi John! At the risk of inserting my two cents into a discussion where it may not be welcome, I’d like to comment on this thread, if I may.
    I have no clue what Mr. Ashley wrote on Mr. Malm’s blog, so I hope you won’t mind my not commenting on that because I don’t know and, to be honest, don’t care. What I wanted to address, if you don’t mind, were some of your comments with regard to the split. The UCG land you mention was acquired when the COGWA leaders held the power in UCG. The proposed Texas move was hardly a mandate since it barely squeaked through approval by the GCE the first time. All of those decisions were made prior to the economic upheavals of 2008, which frankly had a lot to do with the proposals to Rescind the Texas move due to the costs, which a majority of the members of UCG either could not afford or were not willing to fund. As to the rest, it doesn’t take a degree in nuclear physics to figure out what the problem was. James puts it very succinctly, and in one word, it was covetousness. Lust for power, lust for money, lust for control over what isn’t actually theirs. The rest is all just battles of PR that don’t amount to a hill of beans.

    • John D Post author

      debbiefbowman wrote: “The proposed Texas move was hardly a mandate”

      So, why is that relevant? All that matters is that a vote was taken, the majority wanted to move, but some did not want to abide by the decision and agitated until it was changed.

      “All of those decisions were made prior to the economic upheavals of 2008”

      No one knows more than I the economic upheavals — plural — during 2007-2008. I lost my job during that time, and it has been much tougher than I have let on here. So, please, don’t tell me about that. Furthermore, I lived in Ohio, and I spent the last 3 years in Hamilton, near Cincinnati. The economy still isn’t very good there, and I am glad to be out of the area for that reason. In fact, the church not moving at that point in time probably hurt more than staying, especially since they already had purchased property in Texas.

      While we are at it, every comparision of Allen, TX vs Cincinnati, OH has them almost even. Cincinnati is slightly less overall, however that is because it is a depressed economy not because it is simply cheaper to live there. Students being trained in the doctrinal curriculum need decent housing at reasonable cost and available jobs to earn money while they are there (unless they are independently wealthy, but I don’t know too many of those in the Church). Jobs means a vibrant economy.

      “James puts it very succinctly, and in one word, it was covetousness. Lust for power, lust for money, lust for control over what isn’t actually theirs.”

      Isn’t that where all disputes come from, not to mention arrogance? I have written about that as well before.

      Ignoring Ashley’s statements won’t help. It shows that there are two differences in the organizations before and after the split.

      Before: One group was dedicated to treating people badly, including telling widows not to attend any longer, forcing people to retire and even serving them such notice while in the hospital, and just plain not caring whether people stayed or left. It was “my way” — not God’s way! — “or the highway.”

      After: The same group wants to hold a grudge — a root of bitterness — as is evidenced by Scott Ashley’s statements. That is why they are important. Forgiveness would be the Christian thing to do.