Saturday, October 16, 2010

New Assignment for Roy Holladay, Victor Kubik, and Gary Antion

United Church of God has eliminated the existing Regional Pastor structure, replacing ten regional pastors with a Ministerial Services team consisting of Roy Holladay, Victor Kubik, and Gary Antion, according to UCG Current Crisis blog.

This is presented as a cost-saving measure, but it can have other consequences as well.

Here are links to those reports:

I have said for a long time that there is an inherent conflict of interest when you have those in authority voted into office by those under them in authority, especially when those in authority are able to remove the voting credentials of those under them. The system automatically becomes unstable as those in power seek to increase or retain power by eliminating those who they think are likely to vote against them in the next election, and as they use their power to intimidate into silence those who might discuss among themselves any information unfavorable to those in power. Rather than a balance of views and interests, such a system will tend to oscillate between extremes.

By firing Mr. Leon Walker and many Latin American ministers, the majority of the current Council have effectively removed their opposition votes from the system. That will tend to help the majority on the Council remain in power and increase their power in the next election.

But that may not be enough. There must be a number of independent voting ministers who can swing to either side of this division, and many of them may have been alienated from the current Council majority by their heavy-handedness and harshness in getting rid of Mr. Walker and much of the Latin American ministry. To many ministers, and members, firing Mr. Walker because he declined to cancel a trip he felt was vitally needed to address problems hurting some of his members or ministers, when he had already met once with the representatives of the Council and was willing to meet again after his trip, was not a good reason for firing him, but a technical excuse. The division within UCG has increased dramatically since the current Council took office, and more ministers may be inclined to vote for a change.

So the majority on the Council may not feel secure for the next election if things remain as they are.

If this is just a legitimate cost-saving measure, then this may be all there is to it. But otherwise, there could be a host of measures put into effect designed to put pressure on opposition ministers to quit or refuse to obey orders giving cause for firing them. These measures could include transfers, reduction in employment (which can be serve as a cost cutting measure as well), and consolidations. For example, if you have two employed pastors in neighboring cities, you can terminate the employment of one and make the other the pastor of the congregations of both cities. The one who is fired still needs an income, so he either gives up serving his members full time and seeks outside employment, or his leaves UCG to continue as full-time pastor of his flock, thus removing himself from the roles of voting UCG ministers. It can be the Leon Walker situation, but replicated in local areas all over the world. If the new Ministerial Services team manages this scenario skillfully to remove opposition voting ministers, the majority on the Council can protect and advance their interests and agenda in the next election.

I do not say this will happen. But to the extent that men behave carnally, it CAN happen. There is a motive built into the system to encourage this to happen, and that motive is created by ballot-box governance in the Church of God. Whether the Council majority can resist this temptation will be seen.

It is ironic. When ministers in UCG say, we created the system of governance we have today because we made a decision fifteen years ago that we did not want the kind of "one man rule" that led to such bad results before, I had assumed that they were only talking about the changes in doctrine Joseph Tkach made. But I am realizing now that many ministers HATED Herbert W. Armstrong's rule, especially his policy of transfers of ministers every five to eight years. So they chose ballot-box governance thinking that would prevent that. Now, many of the same ministers that created that system may become victims of it, as headquarters orders them to transfer to other cities far away, and fires them if they refuse, using the same reason (or excuse) used to fire Leon Walker (disobedience to orders).

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


John D Carmack said...

You wrote: "It is ironic. When ministers in UCG say, we created the system of governance we have today because we made a decision fifteen years ago that we did not want the kind of "one man rule" that led to such bad results before, I had assumed that they were only talking about the changes in doctrine Joseph Tkach made. But I am realizing now that many ministers HATED Herbert W. Armstrong's rule, especially his policy of transfers of ministers every five to eight years."

This has to be the worst leap of logic you've made yet! How do you go from an internal struggle over unjust firings (in the eyes of some) to "hating" HWA's rule? You offer no proof for that and just state it as though it were fact. said...

When I write, "I am realizing now that many ministers HATED Herbert W. Armstrong's rule", I think most readers can discern whether I am expressing my opinion or stating a verifiable fact.

You yourself have said in your comments in this blog that top-down government under Mr. Armstrong did not work. I have no doubt that many ministers felt the same way, and many of them hated the results of Mr. Armstrong's decisions and policies. I am basing my opinion on statements made by ministers over the years in my hearing in personal conversations and sermons.

You will rarely find ministers saying, "I HATED Mr. Armstrong's rule." Even those who went into apostasy were not that open. But you can read between the lines when some ministers talk about what it was like under Mr. Armstrong.

As far as the connection between the current internal division in UCG and ministers' hatred of Mr. Armstrong's rule, the internal division is a result of ballot-box governance which UCG has chosen. Governance by ballot-box creates division by its very nature, and that form of governance was chosen, in large part, because of the aversion of the ministers to the kind of things they experienced in Worldwide. UCG founders thought that ballot-box governance would provide checks and balances that would prevent what they had experienced before. I had always thought that it was only the kind of doctrinal change Worldwide went through under Mr. Tkach that the UCG ministers wanted to prevent, and for some ministers no doubt that is the only thing. But I have no doubt that there are some who also wanted an "easier" administration than they had under Mr. Armstrong, an administration less demanding, and they hoped governance based on voting might provide that.

Why else is the United Church of God leadership fanatically loyal to ballot-box governance, not willing to discuss whether the fruits indicate anymore if it is a good idea, not willing to consider if it should be changed, not willing to discuss if they may have made a mistake fifteen years ago? It can't be just Mr. Tkach. It is Mr. Armstrong too. They are determined never to go back to top-down government, regardless what the Bible and logic tell them, and apparently regardless of what experience teaches them, so far anyway.

John D Carmack said...

I know I'm not going to convince you that the "one-man rule" is not Scripturally supportable. History has thousands of examples of autocratic rule that were miserably oppressive, but there are very few democratic styles of government that can be looked to for examples either good or bad. Therefore, I know that while you are talking about logic and examples, you focus in on very narrow definitions and conveniently ignore the larger picture.

I don't know what you mean about discerning between your opinion and fact. Obviously, it is your wrong opinion that "many ministers HATED" HWA's rule. It is far from a fact. "HATED", esp in all caps, is a rather strong statement, and it is a sentiment not evident in any of the ministers I've ever personally talked to.

Apparently, you believe that people cannot learn from the past without hating something. I suspect what is really going on is that you HATE the balloting process since you talk so much about it. I suspect that you HATE a non-one-man rule, even though it is the most abused and abusive form of government in existence. I suspect you HATE the idea of a council in charge so much that you will ignore all the pagan kings throughout time that laid heavy burdens and oppressed people. After all, they were the "one-man" and "top-down" form of government, so they must have been "Godly" in your sight.

If form is really what it is all about, then Pharaoh, Caesar, Hitler, Mussolini, Pol Pot, etc., are fine examples of Godly leadership!

Oh, and dare I forget Tkach?

Get real!

The problem is that you have misidentified what God's government really is! As long as you are looking at the form, you will never understand the substance! said...

You are correct in saying that I HATE the balloting process in the Church of God when that process is used to select those in authority. I think it is very wrong in God's sight. I think God also hates it.

John D Carmack said...

Thank you for making my point for me. It is important to know a blog's bias.

Unfortunately for you, there are examples of consensus gathering and selecting who to rule over them in the OT and of disciples making selections for ordinations. In fact, the congregation, not the apostles, made selections for the very first deacons.

King David did not rule over a united Israel for a spell, but I don't see a single verse God condemning them for that. And, that's just one example. said...

I am not against building a consensus. Nor am I against polling a group of people (by having them cast votes for example) to see their preference as a way of seeking advice, as long as such advice does not carry binding decision making authority. The person in authority can follow such advice or not. He can try to build a consensus when he feels such a step is better for everybody, and if he succeeds, great, but if not, he still has authority to call the shots. Actually, wise leaders who have top-down authority will often try to build such a consensus, to obtain agreement from those under their authority to support a decision, sometimes by patiently explaining the reasons for a policy and trying to win the people's support. This is often wise because people tend to give more enthusiastic support and cooperation for a decision when they understand the reasons for it and are in agreement with it than they do if a leader simply crams it down their throats.

But there is a difference between getting advice from those under your authority before you make a decision, and setting up a system whereby those under your authority can vote you out of office. There is a difference between trying to build a consensus when possible before making a decision and creating an institution that cannot work effectively without consensus, because without consensus the institution will be torn by division as each side tries to use its voting power to advance its cause. This division can even exist in such a system when participants unselfishly want what is best for everybody, because even in such a case, they may not agree on what is best for everybody.

That is why I was careful to say that I hate the balloting process in the Church of God "when that process is used to select those in authority."

In the old Worldwide, a pastor might poll his members to indicate by a show of hands, how many prefer morning Sabbath services and how many prefer afternoon services? Then the pastor can know the preference of the members before making a decision. I have no problem with that kind of "balloting". The pastor in this case wants to schedule services for the time that works best for the members, but he has no way of knowing what is best for them unless they tell him. Likewise, Moses relied on the Israelites in the wilderness to select leaders because he didn't personally know all 600,000 men, so he let the people make the recommendations. But the authority to make these people leaders came through Moses, and the people did not have the authority to vote Moses out of office. Nor is there any indication that Moses set up or let the people set up a regular system of reoccurring elections so that these leaders could be voted in and out of office every few years. The apostles also let the membership choose deacons because they knew better than the apostles who was qualified among them, but the authority came through the apostles. It was the membership who recommended, but it was the apostles who decided to seek the recommendation of the membership, and it was the apostles who laid hands on these men and made them deacons. said...

You mentioned that King David did not always rule over a united Israel. This is true, because for a time the northern tribes followed the house of Saul while Judah followed David. I don't know if you read my post, "Top-Down Government or One Man Rule?", but by advocating top-down government, I am not saying we all have to be in one organization, all under one man for the whole Church of God. You can have several fellowships, each governed by a faithful man who reports only to Christ and does not have to stand for re-election every few years, and those leaders can cooperate with each other as brothers, Peter and Paul being the examples, with Peter going to Israelites and Paul to the Gentiles. Peter was not over Paul at that time, nor was Paul over Peter, but both reported to Christ directly, and they cooperated with each other, not only because they loved each other as brothers, but because they both knew they had the same Boss.

By the way, I have just looked at your post "God’s Megachurch", and while I have not yet read it carefully, you seem to make some good points in it. You seem to be saying that we do not have to all be combined into one huge organization to do a great work, but that we can do God's work even if we are organized into more than one fellowship. If this is what you are saying, I agree, but what is essential is that the leaders of different organizations be faithful to Christ, and if they are, they will cooperate with each other. What I am against is the leaders having to stand for re-election and be voted out of office if they make unpopular decisions.