Monday, October 25, 2010

Update on UCG Sabbath Issue

Abigail Cartwright in the UCG Current Crisis blog has posted links to reviews of the paper on the Sabbath that UCG first published, then withdrew from publication. These reviews help to show what the concerns are that some ministers, probably including Larry Salyer, have had about the Sabbath paper. See link below for that post:

These papers in turn provide links to UCG website pages showing that the teaching of United Church of God has been that Church members should not operate and own a business that is open on the Sabbath. The Sabbath paper that UCG first published, then removed, seems to say that it is not a violation of God's Sabbath law to own and operate a business that remains open for short periods of time on the Sabbath provided the Church member does not actually work on the Sabbath, and provided that government law requires that the business be open on the Sabbath.

Together, the Sabbath paper that UCG recently published, combined with the previous teaching of UCG up to this time, seem to indicate that an attempt to change doctrine has been made by the United Church of God leadership, and that this doctrinal change is still being made. The doctrinal change is as follows:


Church members should not own and operate a business that is required to be open on the Sabbath.


Church members may, under certain circumstances, own and operate a business that is required to be open on the Sabbath provided the Church members do not themselves work on the Sabbath.

Either doctrine has been changed or the UCG Sabbath paper is itself contrary to UCG doctrine. Now, if Mr. Larry Salyer, and other UCG ministers in the future, are removed for teaching the old doctrine and not the new one and for criticizing this Sabbath paper, this would seem to confirm that the UCG Council majority is still working to make this doctrinal change in UCG. However, it may be that Mr. Salyer was removed not only for criticizing the Sabbath paper, but also for criticizing the paper on fasting and for criticizing United Church of God leadership itself.

But if the Council majority wanted to stop the division, I do not see why they cannot simply publish a statement that UCG doctrine has been and CONTINUES TO BE that Church members are not to own and operate a business that remains open and employs people on the Sabbath, period. They could acknowledge that statements in the recent Sabbath paper they published that seemed to indicate otherwise were wrong. They could also rehire Leon Walker and the Latin American ministers that were fired. That would make it clear that they are not changing doctrine and that they really do not want a separation of ministers and members who agree with the old doctrine.

It has become apparent that there will be no reconciliation.

More to come...

Here are links to related sections in Preaching the Gospel:

The Weekly Sabbath Day, Chapter 2

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