Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Larry Salyer Update / UCG Papers on Sabbath, Fasting, and Doctrinal Change

More information has become available about Larry Salyer.

It appears that Mr. Salyer took the initiative to meet with members of his congregations after regular Sabbath services to talk about UCG events and two papers on fasting and the Sabbath that UCG recently published. He told the membership that these two papers were wrong and he told them what he thought the errors in those papers were. According to a letter Mr. Salyer wrote (see links below), he understood that he might be removed from his position for what he said. Then UCG relieved him of his ministerial duties for criticizing UCG leadership.

Mr. Salyer apparently expected to be relieved of his duties because of what he said, so he took this action knowing the result.

Here are links to more information about Larry Salyer, including a letter from Victor Kubik explaining the suspension of Mr. Salyer and two letters from Mr. Salyer:

UCG Current Crisis blog:

Shining Light blog:

COGwriter blog:

Larry Salyer was once part of Global Church of God, which was started and led by Mr. Roderick Meredith. In late 1998, Mr. Salyer and Ramond McNair helped to take control of Global Church of God away from Mr. Meredith and fired Mr. Meredith. About 75-80% of the ministry and members of Global stayed with Mr. Meredith, and they re-organized with the name Living Church of God. About 20% went with Global under the leadership of Larry Salyer and Raymond McNair. Without sufficient tithes and offerings from members to pay Global's debts, Global went bankrupt and Larry Salyer eventually went with United Church of God.

Mr. Salyer is well known, is experienced in the Church of God in a variety of positions including high-ranking positions, and may now serve as a magnet and a focus for those in UCG who disagree with the Council majority. However, there are probably many in UCG who disagree with the Council who would not want to be part of a new organization led by Mr. Salyer. So if he becomes a leader of a new organization coming out of UCG, and if most of those who disagree with the Council end up leaving UCG, I expect there will be more than one organization coming out of UCG.

I have read the UCG papers on fasting, the Sabbath, and changing doctrine, and I have a few comments.

The UCG paper, "Fasting, Prayer and the Will of God" is not just about fasting, but is also about the decision to move to Dallas and then the rescinding of that decision. It states that it was unwise to make a decision of that importance without calling a church-wide fast, implying I think that the decision to move to Dallas could have been wrong because there was no church-wide fast called. The paper seems to be saying that the Bible requires fasting before making major decisions. The paper references a number of scriptures. I am providing a link below to the page from which you can view or download this paper - if you read it I urge you to look up each scripture mentioned to see if in the examples given the person fasting was fasting in regard to a decision he had to make or if he was fasting for some other purpose.

The paper on the Sabbath is no longer available. It addresses not just the Sabbath, but the particular case of a Church family in Latin America who owns and operates a child care center that is required to be open till 6:00 pm weekdays, and during certain days of the year this goes into the Sabbath. The Church members leave early on those days so they do not work themselves on the Sabbath, but the business stays open and their employees work on the Sabbath. The paper seems to be saying that the Church members are not breaking the Sabbath by having their employees work on the Sabbath for a short time on certain days of the year.

This may or may not be a change in doctrine from what UCG has taught, but it is a change of doctrine or policy from what I was taught in Worldwide when Mr. Armstrong was alive or shortly after he died. I remember that at one time I was considering expanding my computer consulting business to hire employees who would work for clients at client sites, but it would be hard for me to stop them from working on the Sabbath for those clients since I would not even be present to know if they were doing that or not. I asked a minister, and he told me that if that is the case, I should not expand my business. In others words, no exceptions. Don't own and run a business that employs people working on the Sabbath (Exodus 20:8-11, Deuteronomy 5:12-15).

The paper "Are Some on the Council of Elders secretly planning to change United's doctrines?" states that there are rumors on the Internet that some members of the Council of Elders are secretly planning to change doctrines, and it says that this rumor is false, that there is no truth to it. But how could the writer or writers of this paper know that there are no Council members secretly planning to change doctrines? Can the author read every Council member's mind? People who do things in secret do not advertise what they are planning. The paper says that there are no closet liberals on the Council who want to change doctrine, but how can anyone know what every Council member wants to do?

As evidence, the paper says that many of the Council members accused of wanting to change doctrine have written articles and material for the Church supporting those doctrines. But this proves nothing. There were ministers in Worldwide that supported the Church's doctrines for years by teaching them and writing articles, but then they left those doctrines after Mr. Armstrong died.

The paper says that it is impossible for the Council to change doctrine, citing the fact that a 3/4 majority vote of the ministry is required to change doctrine. But as I have pointed out before, the Council majority can bring about a change in doctrine, not directly, but by working to build that 3/4 majority over time.

Here is a link to a UCG page from which you can open or download their document "Fasting, Prayer and the Will of God":

Here is a link to a UCG page from which you can open or download their document "Are some on the Council of Elders secretly planning to change United's doctrines?":

The link to the UCG document on the Sabbath is no longer available. Here is a link to the UCG explanation for removing that paper from publication:

More to come...

Here are links to related sections in Preaching the Gospel:

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

The Weekly Sabbath Day, Chapter 2


Anonymous said...

The Sabbath paper can still be read on the UCG Current Crisis website. It's within the body of this blog post. said...

Thanks for the link. I am glad the Sabbath paper is still available to those who want to read and evaluate it for themselves.