Wednesday, August 11, 2010

UCG Pastor Graemme Marshall Resigns

UCG Current Crisis blog has reported that UCG pastor Mr. Graemme Marshall in Canada has resigned. Here is a link to the post which gives further details:

More ministers will probably leave United Church of God, but I think most will try to wait till after the Feast of Tabernacles. But I think many will leave before next Passover. To me, a big question will be, how will they organize and what kind of governance will they choose? Will they set up governance similar to UCG's present form of governance? Will there be balloting? Will they say, "We have seen the ugly results of one-man rule in our former association (Worldwide)"? It seems to me that it will be harder for them to claim that as a justification for balloting when governance by balloting has also produced ugly results in UCG.

Will they all organize together or will some pastors remain independent? Way back when UCG was getting started some pastors left or were put out of Worldwide and functioned independently for a short time before joining UCG. For example, I believe that was the case with Mr. Robert Fahey, and it may have been the case with others also. If I am not mistaken, Mr. Fahey functioned independently for several weeks before joining UCG. Who did he report to administratively after leaving Worldwide and before joining United Church of God? He reported to Jesus Christ directly. Why a pastor would remove himself from Christ's direct supervision to report to a body chosen by the balloting of men is beyond me.

Mr. Graemme Marshall may face the same issue. He seems to be waiting for a larger organization to form from more ministers who will leave UCG. But in the meantime, who does he report to? Who is his direct supervisor as he pastors the flock God has entrusted him with, today, tomorrow, and for the next several weeks or months? Jesus Christ! Now, if Christ leads him to remain independent, fine, but if Christ shows him that he should report to another minister who is better qualified and has shown by his fruits that God is working through him, it may be a wise decision for Mr. Marshall to report to that man as long as that man reports to Christ. But why should a minister place himself under the authority of men chosen by voting, not by Christ?

How does God choose a man and make the choice known? By announced appointment and/or by fruits. There are examples of each in the Bible, and sometimes, as in the case of Joshua, it was both. Moses announced that God had appointed Joshua (Numbers 27:15-23, Deuteronomy 1:37-38, 3:26-28, 31:1-3, 14), and then God backed up Joshua with supernatural signs to show by the fruits that, as He was with Moses, so He was also with Joshua (Joshua 3:7).

But I know of no case either in the Bible or in Church history where God has made His choice known through the voting of men. Nor do I think that in Church history being written right now, Christ is showing by the fruits that He has chosen wise and faithful leaders in UCG by the voting of men.

You can't justify everything that happens by saying, Christ is in charge, so He wanted it to happen.

More to come...

Here are links to related sections in Preaching the Gospel:

A Brief History of the Scattering of the Church, Chapter 5

The Cause of the Church's Scattered Condition, and the Solution, Chapter 5

Government in the Church, Chapter 5

Following the Bible -- Pattern of Government, Chapter 6

Church Government, Chapter 7

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