Thursday, December 15, 2011

How the Structure of Governance Affects Preaching the Gospel to the World

In my last post, I did not mention that COGWA has determined which members of the board will be up for re-election in four years and which will be up for re-election in eight years, according to a post in James Malm's Shining Light blog. This was determined according to a random drawing, in accordance with the governing documents. The terms of service of the following board members are eight years:

Arnold Hampton
Richard Pinelli
Larry Salyer
Richard Thompson

The terms of service of the following members are four years:

David Baker
Joel Meeker
Leon Walker

Also, a little under 8.5 million dollars was budgeted based on estimated income.

Here is the link to the post:

As I said in the last post, COGWA does not seem to have the finances at this time to do a large work of preaching the gospel to the world and get a warning message out to the nations of Israel. There is a connection between their shortage of money for the gospel and their structure of governance.

Here is a quote from my book, Preaching the Gospel, chapter 7, section "Church Government", pages 347-348: "There is a direct connection between hierarchical government and the ability of a church organization to make the sacrifices and the hard decisions necessary to preach to the public. I think recent experience has shown and is showing that if the human leader or leaders at the top of an organization, who have the authority to determine the budget and how much money is spent on preaching the gospel to the world and how much is spent on ministers' salaries, are themselves elected by the ministers, it is unlikely they will make the hard decisions necessary to allocate sufficient resources to really finish the work of preparing Israel for the tribulation. It is just common sense that many ministers will not elect someone who would reduce their salaries or lay some of them off if that were necessary." This statement was written several years ago, long before it became apparent to me or to most people that UCG would split.

And now, COGWA is becoming an example to illustrate the truth of that statement.

How important is it that we get a warning message to Israel about the tribulation to come if we as a nation do not repent?

It is vital that the people in our countries hear the warning BEFORE the tribulation begins. This isn't just for making new members. It is for showing the public that God is fair to give them a warning before He punishes them. It is for helping Israel to accept their responsibility for their sins and the resulting suffering that will come upon them.

Most of the people will not heed the warning. That is expected. But then, when they go through the tribulation, they will remember that they heard the warning. Most important of all, they will remember their own responses, that they laughed at it, became angry, or ignored it, but did not check up in the Bible with an open mind to see if the warning was true. And that remembrance will help them realize what fools they have been. That will be their first step towards accepting their own responsibility for their sins, which is a first step towards repentance.

But if they don't hear the warning, how will they react in the tribulation, and even afterwards in the millennium? "God wasn't fair. I thought I was doing the right thing by keeping Sunday, Christmas, Easter, and using holy pictures and images when I pray. No one warned me that I was doing anything wrong, so why should I be punished?"

How will people react in the tribulation if they have not heard a warning? The closest thing to the tribulation in modern history may be the Holocaust when millions of Jews suffered and died in Nazi concentration camps during and before World War II. If you haven't studied the Holocaust, you might think that suffering always draws people closer to God, but that is not true. Many Jews who were religious before the Holocaust lost all faith in God because they couldn't understand why a just God would allow it, according to survivors who actually lived in the concentration camps, as I have documented with quotes from survivors in chapter 4 of my book. That could be a picture of the attitude of distrust and resentment towards God that the tribulation will produce if our people hear no warning. We MUST get a warning out.

But could Mr. Franks make the tough decisions to consolidate congregations, to let some paid ministers go and let those who remain serve several nearby congregations, to free up 30% or 40% of the budget to do a powerful work of preaching the gospel to the world and giving Israel the Ezekiel warning before it is too late? I doubt he could do that to the very ministers who elected him and his supporters to the Ministerial Board of Directors.

That is the connection between the structure of governance in the Church today and the ability of the Church to get a warning message out that is so vital to Israel's repentance during the tribulation and their conversion in the millennium. And since Israel is to serve as a model nation in the millennium for other nations in the world, their conversion is vital for the conversion and saving of the whole world.

How important is that?

By making the board directly dependent on the approval of the ministry, and the president dependent on the board, COGWA has organized itself into a form in which its ability to get the warning out depends on the collective willingness of the entire ministry to sacrifice some of their own income. It may be that from God's point of view, not every paid minister in COGWA should be employed as a minister at this time, but neither Jim Franks nor any other leader of COGWA is in a position to take paid ministers off the payroll to finance the preaching of the gospel.

I fear that COGWA may become another COG fellowship that mostly just "feeds" itself.

Here are links to related sections in Preaching the Gospel:



Church Government, Chapter 7

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