Someone commented in my December 12, 2011 post, "COGWA Headquarters Location", that UCG to date has not made any doctrinal changes, and UCG members should not leave that Church just because they MIGHT make doctrinal changes in the future.
I agree that UCG has not made any major doctrinal changes. As far as I know, they have not made any minor changes either, though I have not been watching them closely enough to know definitely one way or another.
Let's assume for the sake of discussion that they have made NO doctrinal changes to date, zero, nada. Should a UCG member leave that organization just because he or she thinks they MIGHT make changes in the future?
Though some UCG members who left to go to COGWA may have left because they expect UCG to change doctrine, many who left UCG to go with COGWA did not leave because they thought UCG might change doctrine, but they left to stay with their pastor who was leaving. In other words, when their pastor left UCG, the members had to make a choice to leave UCG or leave their pastor. Some of them stayed with their pastor giving greater priority to their relationship with the man they know than with a corporate organization. I do not fault them for that.
UCG has not officially changed doctrine, and maybe they never will, but it is not wrong for a member to read the signs of the times (Matthew 16:2-3) and foresee and avoid future problems (Proverbs 22:3, 27:12). Many members do not want to invest in the growth of an organization if that organization is getting ready to turn away from sound doctrine. They would rather invest the tithes and offerings God has entrusted them with in whatever group they believe will be most faithful now and in the future. Church of God members have the right to make those kinds of judgments. That is the right exercise of godly wisdom.
It's really up to each individual to exercise judgment to stay or leave, and there are so many factors involved including personal circumstances and levels of understanding that it is probably wrong for anyone to judge another member for leaving or staying in UCG. For one person it might be best to stay and for someone else it might be best to leave. God can give each person the wisdom and discernment to know God's will and make the best decision for that particular person, not someone else.
While I have seen no concrete proof that UCG is going to change doctrine, I think there is strong circumstantial evidence that many leaders and ministers in UCG want to change doctrine and are getting ready to make the attempt. The strongest evidence, in my opinion, is the Sabbath paper they published, one that I think is was very provocative and in its implications seemed to change doctrine and contained errors, a paper that was bound to provoke questions from members, questions addressed to their pastor who was then forced to take a stand for or against the paper. It appears to me that this paper was used as a vehicle for pressuring pastors to leave UCG, and it would be those pastors who were the most loyal to the Sabbath doctrine who would be pressured to leave. Now, if that is the case, and if UCG leaders are 100% faithful to the old doctrines, why and how could they use this method to get rid of the pastors they wanted to get rid of? As soon as those pastors left, UCG seems to have reversed itself on the Sabbath paper, basically affirming the old Sabbath teaching. It appears that once that paper had served its purpose in helping to get rid of most of the paid ministry, it was no longer needed and it was in effect disavowed. I think once the COGWA ministers were out of UCG and could no longer vote in UCG elections, UCG leaders had a different priority, namely, to reassure their members that they would NOT change doctrine so they would not leave to go to COGWA.
UCG ministers may not all be in agreement. They stuck together during the split to support their own side, but now that they won that battle, cracks in their unity may emerge. Probably, some want to change doctrine a lot, some a little, and some do not want to change doctrine at all. Time will tell whose policies will prevail in UCG.
I do not agree with the governance structure of UCG or COGWA, and I am concerned about COGWA's inability to do a strong work of preaching the gospel because of their budget situation. They have too many paid ministers and not enough tithe-paying members to support the ministry plus an effective work of preaching to the public. But if I didn't care about those things, if I were attending with UCG and my only priority was sticking to the old doctrines, I would definitely be considering going to COGWA at this point.