"Your own wickedness will correct you, And your backslidings will rebuke you..." (Jeremiah 2:19).
"He who sows iniquity will reap sorrow..." (Proverbs 22:8).
"Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap" (Galatians 6:7).
First, here are latest blog posts about UCG-related news.
Shining Light blog has listed the names of UCG ministers who have signed a letter of concern sent to the Council of Elders February 23, 2010 along with the text of the letter. There are 54 names. Most are unfamiliar to me, but some I recognize because they have been in the news as ministers who have resigned or been fired, such as Paul Carter, Jack Hendren, Graemme Marshall, and Jon Pinelli. Here is a link to the post that lists the text of the letter and the names of those who have signed it:
UCG Current Crisis blog has posted an announcement that International Ambassador Outreach Mission has expanded the scope of its activities to give financial support to United States ministers who have been terminated from UCG or have resigned due to conscience and no longer receive a salary. This organization was previously set up to provide financial assistance to the Latin American region primarily, so this is new. It raises some interesting questions, which I imagine will be answered in due time. Since some ministers may receive financial support from this organization, there is the potential for this organization to have influence. How is this organization governed? Who are the officers? What are the criteria for determining if a former UCG-employed minister is eligible for assistance? Is it expected that this financial support will be temporary or long-lasting? These are some of the questions that come to my mind. I don't imply anything negative about this, only that it is interesting because it may offer a different model of how ministers find support after leaving organizations than in the past. Nothing like this had existed when ministers had to leave Worldwide during the years 1989 through 1996. At that time, the options for a minister leaving an organization, whether he resigned or was fired, was to join and be employed by an existing organization or to organize independently and receive tithes and offerings from the local members he pastors. I think the key to any success with this new method of support is godly cooperation. It may do good if handled wisely, though I think any support given to ministers would be a stop-gap solution until a more permanent solution is found. Here is a link to that post:
Our Own Faults Correct Us:
There is a pattern in the way that God corrects people, both in and out of the Church, for their faults. God often lets the natural consequences of our sins correct and rebuke us. We see this in the world today and for the last six thousand years.
The history of man since Adam's sin 6,000 years ago has shown a pattern of death, destruction, and suffering as a result of mankind's rejection of God's rule. God is allowing that for now so mankind can write the lesson that its self-rule under Satan's influence is not the way to peace and happiness, but that man needs the rule and government of God. Mankind is not learning that lesson now, but it is writing the lesson in history, and after Christ returns He will rule the earth for 1,000 years to show that God's rule and law and way of life leads to peace and happiness. Then men will be able to compare the one thousand years of God's way of life with the prior six thousand years of man's way, and they will see which is better.
In the meantime, during this age, our sins are bringing death and suffering upon ourselves.
It is often that way in health matters. Those that violate God's health laws reap what they sow. If we eat the wrong kinds of foods or certain foods in excess of what is good for us, if we smoke, if we over-drink, if we practice carelessness, we often end up suffering with health problems.
The United States right now is suffering because of its unrighteousness. I may seem to be getting a little political when I say this, but many of our problems in this country in the economy are due to a long-running liberal agenda to increase the size of government, government spending, taxes, government regulation, and the welfare state. The size of government and government spending have been going up fairly steadily over the last 50 years with no end in sight for that tread, and it is killing us as a country. Yet this itself is partially a direct result of our unrighteous decisions, because the very politicians who are advancing that agenda the most are the ones who advocate homosexual rights, homosexual "marriage" (it's not real marriage, there is no such thing as "gay marriage"), and allowing the murder of unborn children, all things contrary to God's teaching in the Bible. In other words, there is a direct connection between our immorality and rejection of the principles of the Bible and the severity of our economic crisis that is setting us up for a severe fall from power. It is an example of "reaping what we sow" and our own sins correcting us.
God's way is to warn those who are sinning, then if they do not heed to let them reap the consequences.
Israel asked Samuel for a king because they did not want God to rule them. By doing so, they sinned by rejecting God as their king (1 Samuel 8:1-9, 12:16-17). Yet God allowed that, and even chose the king for them, but God warned the people through Samuel that they would suffer as a result of their king (1 Samuel 8:10-21, 9:15-17, 10:1).
United Church of God has chosen a governance structure that places authority in the balloting of men. God is allowing that very system to bring division and suffering on the same ministers who have chosen that system.
How is balloting causing division?
There are many indications that the administration and the majority of the Council of Elders who have chosen this administration are trying to get rid of ministers likely to vote against them in the next election. They seem to be doing this by putting pressure on them to quit or to take actions that can be used as an excuse to fire them. This would be a case of the process of voting motivating a process of division. In other words, the faults of UCG governance are correcting that organization.
If there was to be no future balloting in UCG, Mr. Melvin Rhodes, Mr. Dennis Luker, and the majority of the Council of Elders would have no reason not to try to hold UCG together. They would have every reason to try to persuade ministers to stay in UCG rather than leave. It is the fear of their votes that seems to be driving the Council majority to want to get rid of them rather than keep the Church united.
Thus, God is allowing events to demonstrate how ballot-box governance can create an incentive for division.
More to come...
Here are links to related sections in Preaching the Gospel:
God's 7,000 Year Plan -- Are We in the Last Days?, Chapter 1
The Weekly Sabbath Day, Chapter 2
A Brief History of the Scattering of the Church, 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