In COGWA's recently published document "Proposal for Governance" is a statement saying that everything in that Church's governmental structure and administration shall be subordinate to the requirements of the Bible. This is good, and it is a much-needed principle to state and to follow. This is something that should have been followed in UCG, but was not. For example, members of the Council of Elders in UCG apparently were required to commit to supporting the decisions of the Council in advance of knowing what those decisions were and whether or not those decisions were biblical. I do not know how much legal power this proposal carries compared to the constitution and bylaws, but I hope that COGWA and all its legal documents will support this principle.
According to some accounts given during the split between UCG and those ministers who left and formed COGWA, some Council members who did not agree with the majority on the Council felt they had to resign from the Council rather than stay to support those policies they felt were right because they had previously committed to an ethical policy requiring them to support majority decisions on the Council even though they did not feel those decisions were biblical.
What should have happened is that their commitment to support the decisions of the Council should have had the condition attached to it that they were committing their support ONLY in cases where the Council was in line with the Bible. COGWA ministers and members should likewise only be asked to make commitments to support this or that future decision of the leaders ONLY with the understood (and clearly stated) condition that their commitment to support decisions is only binding when those decisions are according to biblical principles. The Proposal for Governance makes a good start in this direction by its statement.
Committing or promising or agreeing in advance to support the decisions of fallible men is a trap because those decisions may be sinful and false. In principle, this may be included in Jesus's instruction not to swear to do something (Matthew 5:33-37), in the caution in Proverbs about being surety for someone else (Proverbs 6:1-5), and in the example of the man who vowed to sacrifice the first thing that came out of his house, being an example not to follow of someone making a commitment without knowing the full consequences of what he was committing to (Judges 11:30-35).
When we were baptized we committed to God and Christ to believe them, to obey them, and to seek and do their will in everything. That is the only commitment we need to make in the work of the Church. If we make that commitment and follow through to keep it, we will do the right thing and do not have to worry about making commitments to abide by and support the decisions of men in advance of knowing what those decisions will be, right or wrong.
More to come...