I have posted before about the UCG code of ethics agreement UCG ministers are being asked to sign. As I have said, I think ministers would be better off not signing.
But the code of ethics agreement may be a blessing in disguise.
When Worldwide was changing doctrine, some ministers who remained faithful to true doctrine were able to stay with Worldwide a long time, even after Worldwide made many serious doctrinal compromises. They did this by walking a tightrope. They were careful not to contradict Mr. Tkach and the other leaders in Worldwide on doctrine, but they were equally careful not to teach anything false. They did this by avoiding the teaching of certain subjects, just sticking to "safe" topics in which doctrine had not yet been changed, and by various means in how they worded what they said.
I see hints, but no smoking gun, that UCG is moving slowly towards doctrinal compromise. I can't prove it and I can't say definitely that it will happen. But it might. And I am not suggesting that UCG members should leave necessarily at this point over what MIGHT happen.
But ministers in UCG will be the first to know, if they do not already know. And if doctrinal compromise and false teaching is in UCG's future, some ministers, who were able to stay in Worldwide past some of the doctrinal changes by walking the tightrope, may be tempted to do the same thing in UCG, especially since UCG is unlikely to change doctrine to the same extent and degree as Worldwide did.
But for any minister whose loyalty is to the Bible more than to UCG leaders, the code of ethics agreement may be a line in the sand they cannot cross. You either sign or you don't sign, and if you sign you are pledging loyalty to the organization and everything it will teach.
And for this reason, the option to "walk the tightrope" to stay in an organization that may teach doctrinal heresy by the avoiding of certain subjects and by clever wording in how things are taught, may not be an option for faithful ministers.
If God wants those ministers OUT of UCG so they can teach the full truth forcefully, with power, not being careful how they word things so as not to offend their bosses, it may be according to God's will that this code of ethics agreement force ministers to take a stand now, one way or another. This can be God's way of getting faithful ministers OUT of an organization that is not fully faithful to the Bible.
Thus, in its long-term effects, the code of ethics agreement can be a blessing.
To sign or not to sign. That is the question.
Members of the Church of God may have to face something like this in the future. And I am not talking about signing Church of God agreements. I do not foresee any Church of God organization asking members to sign papers of agreement.
But the world might.
The Bible refers to something called the mark of the beast (Revelation 13:16-17). There will be a time coming when no man can buy or sell without the mark of the beast, which is on their right hand or on their foreheads.
Many in the Church have suggested that this would be Sunday observance, figuring we work with our hands (right hand) and our minds (forehead), and if we observe the Sabbath faithfully, we will lose our jobs and have no money to buy or sell. This idea is further reinforced by the fact that God's true Sabbath is a sign that identifies God's people (Exodus 31:12-17). If the Sabbath is a sign, then Sunday is a counterfeit sign.
I think Sunday observance may very well be the mark of the beast.
But how will the prohibition against buying or selling be enforced for those who do not observe Sunday and instead observe the Sabbath?
I have often wondered about that. Because, just keeping the Sabbath, resting from Friday sunset to Saturday sunset, does not, by itself, stop someone from buying or selling.
In times in the past when I have been unemployed, I have done more selling of property to raise cash to support myself than when I had a job. I would sell my DVDs, my movies, my computer equipment, my camera, anything I had that I could sell, to raise cash to buy food or pay the rent. I sold on eBay, I sold to stores, I sold to relatives.
How will keeping the Sabbath prevent you from selling your house, your car, or anything you have? You can sell these things on a Monday, Tuesday, etc.
And what about people who have savings or who live on a pension? How will Sabbath observance prevent someone from buying food and other necessities from their savings or pension money during the week?
Also, there is almost always part-time work that a person can do during the week, and there are work shifts that simply do not require people to work on the Sabbath. Also, self-employed people can work during the regular workweek and clients do not necessarily even know that they keep the Sabbath. If a car mechanic fixes my car on a Wednesday and I pay him on Thursday, how do I know if he works Saturday or not?
If Sunday is the mark of the beast, there has to be an enforcement mechanism to prevent people from buying and selling who do not have the mark. In fact, whatever the mark of the beast is, there has to be an enforcement mechanism.
There has been a trend in the world to move away from using physical cash to make financial transactions - paper currency and coin - and to move towards electronic and bank payments: checks, credit cards, and debit cards. Today, typically you can go into a store, slide your bank card through a card reader, press OK when you see the amount, and you just made your purchase. You can do this for any amount, even to buy a banana that cost 18 cents. The IRS would like to see cash eliminated because financial transactions in electronic or check form are easier to trace to make sure people pay their taxes.
You can receive a paycheck and cash it at a currency exchange or at the bank the check is drawn on without having a bank account, but if the world moves to a cashless economy, that may no longer be possible. Having a bank account will be a necessity to buy or sell anything, to receive payment from an employer, etc. But to open a bank account, you have to sign forms. And a future government may require that those forms contain certain wording, certain pledges and promises, to abide by laws of the state that prohibit Sunday work, to acknowledge that Sunday is the true sabbath of God, or any other doctrine that a faithful member of God's true Church cannot with a clear conscience agree to. If we sign, we have signed something false, and we have lied, we have given false witness, we have broken the ninth commandment, and we have sinned against God. If we refuse to sign, no bank account. No bank account, no debit or credit card for making store purchases. No bank account, no checks for making purchases with checks. No bank account, no way to deposit a paycheck.
No money in other words. No buying or selling. No way to cash a pension check because there is no cash. No way to sell anything because there is no way to receive payment.
This would be a way to exclude the entire faithful membership of the Church of God from participation in a money economy.
We would be reduced to barter to stay alive. We fix the neighbor's car in exchange for the neighbor giving us food. Or we cut the neighbor's lawn, or babysit for their children, in return for this or that benefit. Barter to stay alive, but no buying or selling.
Hitler didn't have the tools to make Germany cashless, but when he began to move against the Jews, he passed laws excluding them from one profession after another. They were not allowed to own farmland. They could not work as teachers. Non-Jews could not go to Jewish doctors. Systematically, the Jews were excluded, step-by-step, from most of the economy. This was before most of them were rounded up and sent to concentration camps.
If this happens in the future, if we must sign something false to have a bank account, every member will be faced with that question, sign or don't sign.
Revelation says the mark will be on our right hand or our forehead. We work with both hands, but we sign papers with our right hand. With our hand, we sign, and with our mind (our forehead) we compromise.
We all may face that choice sometime in the future, to compromise by signing or to pay a penalty for not signing. UCG ministers are facing a similar choice now.