Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Could the Decision to Govern UCG by Voting Have Been a Mistake?

Can mistakes be made by Church of God leaders?

And if God allows mistakes, does He sometimes let us see the results of those mistakes to teach us lessons?

Herbert W. Armstrong named Joseph Tkach as his successor thinking that Mr. Tkach would remain faithful to the Bible and the doctrines Mr. Armstrong taught from the Bible. Mr. Tkach then reversed virtually everything Mr. Armstrong had learned and taught from the Bible. As a result, the Church of God became divided and scattered, and the effects of that continue today.

Were mistakes made?

Obviously, yes. Mr. Armstrong was mistaken in thinking that Mr. Tkach would continue to teach the doctrines Mr. Armstrong taught, and Mr. Tkach made numerous mistakes by changing those doctrines. I believe Christ wanted the Church to be scattered as a trial, as a test, and perhaps as a rebuke for our Laodiceanism that had entered the Church and become the predominant condition.

Then why should it seem unreasonable to consider that the ministry of United Church of God might have made a mistake when they chose ballot-box governance fifteen years ago?

God may have allowed Mr. Armstrong to name Mr. Tkach as his successor to teach us the lesson that we must always believe and obey the Bible more than the Church. We have been tested on that point, and continue to be tested.

UCG leaders who chose ballot-box governance perhaps did that because they thought Mr. Armstrong made a mistake in naming Mr. Tkach as his successor, and all agree that Mr. Tkach made major mistakes in the doctrinal changes he made. They may even have thought that top-down governance was a mistake. So since UCG acknowledges that mistakes can be made, could not UCG leaders have made a mistake in choosing the structure of governance UCG has today? And if that could be a mistake, should not that decision be revisited?

Then why refuse discussion on that issue?

I believe that God allowed the leaders of United Church of God to make the mistake of choosing ballot-box governance fifteen years ago to teach us the lesson, once and for all, that ballot-box governance in the Church is NOT God's will and it never produces good fruit in the Church in the long run.

God has allowed UCG to choose a wrong form of governance 15 years ago to teach the Church lessons. And learn we will. UCG ministers and members will learn, the hard way if necessary, but it is not just UCG that is learning that lesson. The whole scattered Church of God is watching and learning from UCG's example. They are learning that ballot-box governance bears bad fruit (Matthew 7:17-18, Luke 6:43-44).

To justify the decision about governance by saying that Christ controls everything in the Church so it must be His will is using wrong reasoning. If that were the case, then Christ would be in agreement with every decision, including the doctrinal mistakes made by Mr. Tkach. Christ is NOT in agreement with every Church decision, and I do not think He is in agreement with UCG's decision on governance.

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

How Is the Church Organized?, Chapter 7


Steven Britt said...

While this may be a valid point, you have neglected to consider the possibility that God was showing us the fallacy of one-man rule in WCG. This conclusion would be supported by the many splinter groups who have wandered down the paths of egotism. Furthermore, why is it necessarily the government structure that is at the root of UCG's current problems rather than something more fundamental, like having love for each other?

I think that it is convenient for people in other organizations, who believe that a certain government structure in the church organization is a vital issue, to point the finger at government as the primary cause of the problems.

Anonymous said...

I think that ballot box voting by elders is a reasonable method of governance.

I suspect that you would propose a one man form of governance is the only "true" Godly form of governance, sort of like...LCG has.

I believe there is sufficient evidence in the Bible and in the history of the Church of God to show that God's work has been handled by various government structures...and works.

I have learned long ago to understand that there may be more than one "best" way to do something.