First, an update on recent COG news from various blogs.
Church of God, a Worldwide Association (COGWA) reported that their fiscal year 2011 income was $8,728,000. Here is a link to the post:
United Church of God (UCG) has published statistics and a chart showing that responses to its TV program have about doubled each year for the past two years. Link:
COGWA reported that it has made a decision on the location of a headquarters office. Link:
COGwriter has reported on UCG's finances for its fiscal year ending June 30, 2011. Link:
COGwriter and James Malm have each reported on a recent UCG conference and published various UCG statistics such as number of UCG elders, number of UCG pastors, etc. Links:
James Malm has published a "UCG MINISTERIAL CODE OF ETHICS" in his March 4, 2012 posting. Here is a link:
Presumably, all elders in UCG will be required to sign this.
Would Jesus Christ sign such a document? Would the apostle Paul or the other apostles sign it?
Every member of the Church of God has signed a code of ethics at baptism. It is called the Bible, and it provides a complete guide to God's law, His way of life, and his will in every area of life. God helps us to understand the Bible as we strive to believe and obey Him, and as we submit to the Bible's correction, we learn more and more of God's will in our lives. We learn to think as Christ thinks, and that gives us wisdom to know how to handle every ethical and moral question that comes up. Is that not sufficient?
I see a problem when an organization of men makes up its own lists of moral and ethical do's and don'ts and requires its members to sign it, in effect, vowing or promising to follow a man's list of do's and don'ts.
It reminds me of the Pharisees who added many lists of requirements to God's word, some of which actually contradicted God's word (Matthew 15:1-9).
Requiring someone to sign a paper promising to behave ethically is like courts asking people to swear to tell the truth. If a person is not honest enough to tell the truth, his swearing will mean nothing anyway. If a person does not have enough respect for God's law to behave ethically, his signature on a piece of paper will mean nothing anyway.
And what happens when there is a conflict between the code of ethics and the Bible?
In this agreement, ministers must promise to abide by the standards of 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1 "as amplified" by the UCG code of ethics. But what if man's "amplification" of God's word is wrong?
In this code of ethics are many detailed promises that go beyond what the Bible specifically spells out. I will mention one. Ministers in this "code of ethics" promise to uphold the decisions of the UCG General Conference of Elders.
So in effect, ministers must promise to support decisions of UCG leadership in advance of knowing what those decisions will be and even if those decisions are wrong.
I find it hard to understand how any minister could sign such a document with a clear conscience.
It makes me curious. Maybe readers of this blog can help me out. Do ministers in other Church of God organizations such as LCG, COGaic, CGG, and COGWA have to sign similar agreements, and what do those agreements say? Did Mr. Armstrong require ministers to sign agreements like this, and what did those agreements require?
I do not think Jesus Christ or any of the original apostles would sign the UCG code of ethics.