Larry Salyer, a minister in United Church of God, has been suspended according to a report in the Shining Light blog. Here is a link to that report:
This type of action is not unexpected, though the speed of it a little remarkable. I think the current majority on the UCG Council of Elders wants to move quick to end the division in UCG one way or another, either by obtaining compliance and support for their policies agenda from all dissenting ministers, or to get those ministers out of UCG. UCG income is probably down, and the longer the division exists with two warring camps in UCG, the worse the financial crisis will become. Another factor may be that dissenting ministers may be organizing and preparing the steps and moves they will make, knowing they will probably leave UCG, and those preparations and plans will include holding or obtaining as many UCG members as possible for a new group (or groups) they will form. It is in the interest of the Council majority in UCG to move as fast as possible before those preparations can be complete.
Things will probably happen very fast from now on.
I do not know exactly why Mr. Salyer was suspended. But it would be easy for the Council majority to force out ministers who do not agree with them. All they have to do is to is make a doctrinal or policy ruling that they know their opponents cannot agree with and teach in good conscience, then require them to affirm and support that policy or doctrinal ruling or face removal on grounds of "not supporting the Council's decisions". It can be the Leon Walker scenario all over again, with variations in the details. For example, the Council can require ministers to teach some new interpretation or policy on the Sabbath that is contrary to the Bible or to long time Church of God teaching that many ministers hold to. This puts such a minister in a bind that makes it impossible for him to stay in UCG. He cannot teach something he doesn't believe because if he did he would be bearing false witness. He cannot agree with a rule the Council makes contrary to what he sees in the Bible without betraying his loyalty to God and God's word. And if he does not agree to teach the new policy on the Sabbath, he can be fired for insubordination.
It would be the same as with Leon Walker. Order a minister to do something he cannot do, then fire him for not doing it. Just as Mr. Walker was ordered to cancel a trip he felt was necessary to care for the flock, which he felt he could not do, and then was fired for not doing it, so other ministers can be ordered to teach or support something they cannot agree with, and then fired for not agreeing to teach it. That would be a simple and effective formula for getting rid of opposition voters. The UCG Council majority can do this till they eliminate most of those who would vote against them in the next election. I'll bet President Obama wishes he had that tool to eliminate opposition voters.
It may be that the Council is not doing this, but is reacting against moves Mr. Salyer and other ministers are already making to organize a new group and pull members out of UCG. But the above described method for securing re-election by getting rid of opposition voters is certainly possible, and is a temptation in any case. It is a temptation and conflict of interest created by ballot-box governance.
A post in the Shining Light blog has given names of regional pastors being replaced. They are: Todd Carey, Bruce Gore, Larry Grieder, Jim Haeffle, Mike Hanisko, Larry Neff, Greg Sargent, Jim Servidio, and Lyle Welty. He also reports that Paul Suckling is being relieved of his position as Senior Pastor of the U.K. Here is a link to that post:
The UCG Current Crisis blog gives a list of those who have resigned or been removed from their positions in UCG in the last year. Here is the link to that post:
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