UCG COGWA Split
A reprint of the Nov 16, 2009 and May 2010 Buchanan letters first published at TheShiningLight on 7 May 2013.
We all need to remember that our salvation is NOT a matter of which group we prefer, for all major COG Groups have the same problems manifested in different ways. Our Salvation is dependent on our relationship with our God!
We all need to put the Word of God FIRST!
Contrary to common belief the present schisms in the COG did not begin with Joe Tkach; they were common even from the earliest days of the congregational church of God. The scriptures tell us of many apostasies in the days of the apostles.
1 Corinthians 11:19 For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.
2 Peter 2 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying [the authority and teachings of] the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.
The scriptures are clear that tares will be sown and that the godly will be persecuted by their own brethren who will not tolerate sound doctrine.
In modern times HWA turned away from what sound doctrine he had in the 1960′s, starting with watering down the Sabbath and then stopping the observance the Feast of Unleavened Bread for the full seven days.
HWA adopted a business outreach style and took in many obviously unconverted persons to gain their contributions and an increased number of personal followers, as is still being done by many groups today. This was to prove his undoing. as men like Earnest Martin led a split off from the WCG  when Herbert rejected his Pentecostal Evangelical teachings. While a large number did leave at that time, many more evangelicals remained to keep their jobs.
Eventually Joe T was able to out-maneuver Stan Rader and succeed in taking over and running WCG from behind the scenes as Herbert Armstrong was blind and too sick and weak to know what was goibng on. Later when HWA dies Joe took over, having been named the successor with the help of Aaron Dean, Herman Hoeh and others.
Joe Tkach a confirmed Pentecostal Evangelical follower of Earnest Martin, then began to change WCG doctrine with the enthusiastic help of Joe Tkach jr, Mike Feazel, Denny Luker, Vic Kubik, Robin Webber, Don Ward and many others.
When the Dec 94 Tkach sermon changing doctrine and setting a new direction for WCG was made, many brethren began to leave. By early 95 it was apparent that many in the ministry had to be let go, out of financial necessity, and when that was communicated to the leadership, a meeting was set up of those who would be out going, by Dennis Luker with the knowledge and support of Joe Tkach.
Since the brethren had left, or were leaving; and these elders had to be fired for financial reasons anyway; this UCG founding meeting was mutually agreed by Tkach and Denny Luker; to allow the already outgoing elders to start their own organization and try to gather the leaving brethren under themselves.
Many of those unhappy with the Tkach changes, as well as many supporting the changes, met to form a new organization; under the pretense of loyalty to past doctrine. This pretense of HWA doctrinal loyalty snared many of the leaving brethren as well as many of the HWA loyalists among the ministry, but a battle arose for control between the HWA loyalists and the Tkach style Pentecostal Evangelicals.
The truth is that UCG was a “house divided” from the beginning; between two separate religious concepts with the Tkach people deceiving the brethren by hiding behind a pretext of loyalty to Herbert Armstrong.
Satan is the god of this world and he has a religion for every kind of person. Having grown up in a Pentecostal Evangelical family myself; with an uncle being a senior Pentecostal educator, I am well aware of their teachings and techniques.
They use a false take on love, coupled with extreme emotionalism; to appeal to the emotions of their victims, and lead emotionally immature people into thinking that they are loved if they “Belong” to the church family.
These folks can turn the tears on and off at will, and they use all manner of emotional techniques to ensnare people into emotional decisions; and away from living by biblical truth and facts. The false evangelical leanings of Denny, Vic, Robin and friends; is a con game based on emotional entrapment.
As Denny has turned on the tears to deceive the brethren; Vic Kubik did the same to deceive the HWA loyalists in the MINISTRY; crying over the way that Joe T treated the elders; while he himself had been Joe’s chief enforcer. Good men ignored the facts and emotionally bought into the tears; even though Vic NEVER has apologized for his own part in promoting the Tkach agenda; saying “I was just doing my job”.
By 2007 the evangelicals in the UCG leadership had hit upon the strategy of using bloc voting to take control of the CoE; and set up an Alternate Elders Forum with which to push their candidates for election in bloc voting contrary to the UCG documents.
This is a letter helping to explain the evangelical bloc voting in UCG circa 2007
Please notice the date of this letter; there will be another letter with a much earlier date later in the post.
The Buchanan letters concerning the 2008 takeover of UCG using block voting
Letter to the United Church of God – April 12, 2010
In the days of Esther, God’s people were pushed to the very brink of destruction. Today, the United Church of God stands at just such a critical juncture. Satan was behind the attempt to destroy Mordecai and God’s people, and make no mistake, he is behind the events of the last three years – events that have come dangerously close to tearing the very fabric of our Church apart.
For three years [since 07] we have had constant problems, so much so that using the word United in our name seems hypocritical. To understand how we arrived here we only need to look back three short years. In 2006 – 2007 we were on the verge of implementing a project that would have served as a springboard for the Church’s future. That project was stopped when five men on the Council of Elders sought a re-vote on moving the Church headquarters to Denton Texas. The re-vote resolution and subsequent changes in membership on the Council of Elders marked the beginning of a rapid decline. Whether you believe the re-vote was legal or illegal is not the main issue for today.
Today, we should look at what occurred since that time, and the fruits of the Council of Elders (COE). Roughly three years ago  it came to light that there was a secret, exclusive, alternate Elder’s Forum and there were allegations that block voting affected the outcome of Council elections.
The COE conducted an investigation and issued a report to address the secret Elder’s Forum and other discussion groups. That report contained egregious “mistakes” even though the Council was alerted to the inaccuracies prior to issuing their report. I am confident that not all Council members supported the reports findings. Since there were allegations that the secret Elders Forum affected the voting process that resulted in some council men having their positions, you would think the ethical thing to do would have been for the Council members to recuse themselves and ask for an investigation of the matter by an independent committee. That was not the case.
Some members of the COE have vehemently denied there was any evidence of block voting for Council candidates three years ago . Would you consider the following items as evidence?
• The creator of the Alternate Elders Forum was subsequently elected to the Council of Elders.
• The move to Denton, Texas was rescinded during the time when the Alternate Elders Forum was active.
• An anonymous letter from a person purporting to be an Elder in the Church indicated those involved in the Alternate Elders Forum agreed to vote for a certain slate of men.
• A letter written by an Elder in 2007 was sent to certain members of the General Conference of Elders. That letter openly solicited votes for specific candidates some of which were subsequently elected.
Although some COE members, Ministers, Local Elders and members requested numerous time that these matters be properly investigated their requests were quashed.
The secret Elders Forum and allegations of bloc voting are only two of the many issues that have clouded our recent past. There are many others. Recently, Clyde Kilough, as a duly authorized officer of the Church, in accordance with Church Bylaws (Bylaw item 7.9.2) requested the Council Secretary submit a resolution to the General Council of Elders calling for the formation of a task force to evaluate our current form of governance and determine if there is a better system.
After Elders on the forum began a heated discourse on the merits of evaluating our form of governance, the moderator of the Elders Forum archived certain communications related to Mr. Kilough’s resolution, thereby preventing Elders from continuing those original discussions. The moderator of the Elders Forum is a member of the COE – this is clearly a conflict of interest, probably unethical. While claiming to support transparency and open communications the COE is now in the business of deciding what the Elders can and cannot discuss.
If you are an Elder don’t be confused about what you are seeing on the Elder’s Forum, the content is being manipulated and you are only seeing what certain members of the COE want you to see. What happened to the idea espoused at a COE meeting that “a Christian has the right to speak to whomever he or she chooses, and on whatever topic at the time, in the manner and at the place he or she determines” (July 16, 2009 and July 21, 2009 Council of Elders Reports).
Mr. Kilough’s resolution was illegally removed by the COE. Certain members of the COE claimed the resolution intended to change our system of governance – that is not the case. Furthermore, the COE’s action appears to be grossly inconsistent, since at least one other resolution to change our system of governance has been submitted to the Secretary for consideration by the GCE and it was not removed; that being the resolution recently authored by Mr. Jack Hendren. Any legal opinion that states the resolution was illegal is not worth the price of the paper it is written on. Is there such a lack of wisdom and understanding that some members of the COE must rush to an attorney when they feel their power is being challenged? If there is a better way to execute our current system of governance, or a better system, wouldn’t we all desire to have it?
What happened to unity? In the wake of changes to the membership of the COE approximately three years [ago in 2007] there has been precious little unity. Ask yourself why we had two men resign from the COE last year and why was the Council Reporter removed. I hope members of the General Conference of Elders will take it upon themselves to find out why Mr. Kilough and Mr. Thompson resigned. Now is not the time to be squeamish about asking tough questions. Now is the time for answers. Do you think they resigned because of differences of opinion, or they had something better to do? I think not. Ask them!
I hope the members of the General Conference of Elders take it upon themselves to find out why Mr. Kilough and Mr. Franks were forced to resign (fired) from their positions and why Mr. Salyer felt compelled to resign. Do you think it was simply a time for a change in administration? I think not. Call and ask them why!
There is a spiritual problem at the head of our Church. Who will stand up for truth and ethics? Aren’t the members of the General Conference of Elders the stewards of God’s Church? I ask each and every member and Elder to consider our Church’s plight – this organization is on the verge of failure. Please consider the division and strife that are the fruits of the last three years of Church leadership. I hope you fast and pray about these issues. If you are an Elder, you have an opportunity, no an obligation to act responsibly to the office you hold as a member of the ruling body of the Church, and more importantly toward the covenant you made with God – judge the Council of Elders’ fruits, and render a change at the annual Conference of Elders.
The words Mordecai once spoke to Esther were powerful beyond belief. The implication and urgency of those words apply to members of the General Conference of Elders this very day and to the United Church of God.
For if you are completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance shall arise to the Church from another place, but you and your congregations shall be destroyed. And who knows whether you have come to the Church for a time like this? Esther 4.
God be with you,
Member, Houston North Congregation
The Evangelicals then used the simple majority they had gained through this process and lobbied the GCE to rescind the move to Texas in 08.
Rescinding the move to Texas caused the Franks/Kilough folks to seek a re-examination of UCG governance structure by the GCE. This was entirely legal and proper but the CoE evangelicals did not like the challenge to their new position controlling UCG.
The decision to move UCG’s home office to Texas was rescinded in 2008, causing considerable tension within and between the Council of Elders and the General Conference of Elders.
In 2009, two members of the Council of Elders resigned — then-president Clyde Kilough, whose resignation was effective July 28, 2009; and Richard Thompson, effective July 27, 2009. A letter sent out by the Council of Elders said that the resignations were for “personal reasons.”
In 2010, earlier tensions rooted in the rescinded Texas move and governance disputes continued to mount and led to the Council of Elders requesting (and accepting) the resignation of Clyde Kilough as President of UCG. Resignations were also accepted for Jim Franks (Ministerial Services) and Larry Salyer (Media Operations). The call for Kilough’s resignation was prompted by a resolution that Kilough had jointly crafted with other administrative staff, which had proposed that UCG’s governance structure be reviewed. The resolution was submitted directly to the General Conference of Elders, as allowed by the constitution and bylaws, but bypassing review by the Council of Elders, prompting the Council of Elders to remove Kilough and to reinstate Roy Holladay as acting President until the new President was appointed.
Dennis Luker was appointed president on June 24, 2010. But tensions with a group of ministers continued to build, ending with dozens of pastors and local elders resigning from UCG in December 2010. In early 2011, those ministers met in Louisville, Kentucky to form a new group, the Church of God, a Worldwide Association with Kilough as president. The resignations were the result of increasing conflict between UCG’s Council of Elders and personnel that had formerly been in administrative or council roles.
Sometime in mid 2009 the split was decided and Jim Franks went into overdrive to orchestrate the split. Along with close friends like Clyde Kilough he began to complain about the evangelical folks now controlling UCG and spoke of loyalty to HWA doctrines. Through friends of friends they set up their own alternate forum at the Angela Cartwright blog and began to canvas for elders to join their cause. Another secret website was set up to which sympathetic elders could go to join the schism.
Throughout the process the dissidents compiled their letters to the CoE and publicly issued documents in such a way as to deny authorship. They would ask several persons to wrote pieces and submit them to an “editor” who would then compile and publish them as one article. In that way the editor and each contributor would deny writing the paper.
As they worked against UCG they continued to draw their salaries in a clear conflict of interest.
I promised the editor of these documents that I would not reveal his name in 2010, but by now the split is history and it is common knowledge that the editor was Doug Horchak.
Jim worked hard to organize the split and then just as hard to set up the requirements for the COGWA leader so that only he and a couple of others met the qualifications.
I was made aware that a split was coming in 2009, and although most brethren were in denial; the situation through 2009 was only one of each side working to gain as many brethren as possible for their own side before the obviously coming split.
A very intense letter to the UCG Council was sent after the Feast in 2009 which amounted to a declaration of intent by a close friend of Jim Franks, David Buchanan of Houston, Texas.
It is reported that Buchanan and Franks spent the Feast of Tabernacles together that year in Argentina where they had plenty of time to discuss strategy. The document properties lists someone named “John” as the compiler of the PDF document containing David’s letter.
November 16, 2009
Council of Elders
The United Church of God
555 TechneCenter Drive
Milford, Ohio 45150
Subject: Offenses Caused by the Council of Elders, Request for Action, Facts Supporting Offences
1. I am offended that the Council of Elders has acted illegally.
The Council of Elders has an obligation to act in accordance with our Constitution, Bylaws, and Statement of Fundamental Beliefs. Furthermore, California State Law requires that to maintain our tax exempt status as a religious organization, we must act in accordance with our Constitution, Bylaws, and Statement of Fundamental Beliefs, in which we state both the Old and the New Testament is God’s revelation, and His complete, expressed will to humanity. I am concerned that we may have violated our Constitution, Bylaws, and Fundamental Beliefs, and thereby may have violated state law, if those knowledgeable of the allegation of adultery by a minister did not take immediate action to address the allegation. I have been told by two sources that the allegation of adultery was openly discussed among ministers at feast sites in the United States so it is difficult for me to believe that not one member of the Council of Elders was not aware of the issue.
If any member of the Council had knowledge of the allegation, and they took no action, we have potentially put women in the Church at risk of being taken advantage of by a minister, and the alleged offender at risk of going to jail, as many states, and possibly some other countries, have laws that consider a minister’s adultery with a member to be an offense punishable by fines and/or incarceration. If any member of the Council was knowledgeable of the allegation and they did not take action to investigate the allegation, I believe we may have violated our own Constitution and Bylaws. Of course, whether a knowledgeable Council member’s act of omission is strictly “illegal” under civil laws governing our Church would ultimately have to be decided in a court of law.
I offer the following information in support of this issue.
Article 22.214.171.124 of the Constitution – COUNCIL OF ELDERS
The Council of Elders (Council) is established to provide oversight and guidance within the Church for the service and care of local congregations, the preaching of the gospel and the administration of God’s tithes and offerings. In accordance with the directive of the General Conference at its inaugural meeting held in Indianapolis, Indiana, from April 30, to May 2, 1995, the Council of Elders incorporated the United Church of God, an International Association (UCG) for the purpose of executing the Church’s responsibilities. Therefore, the Council is the duly appointed corporate board for the Church and is equivalent to a board of directors. As such, it shall have such other specific duties and responsibilities as are enumerated in the UCG corporate bylaws. The Council of Elders shall conduct itself in accordance with Scripture, this Constitution, the duly adopted corporate bylaws, the rules of association of the UCG and applicable law. Council of Elders November 16, 2009 Page 2 of 11
SCRIPTURES PERTINENT TO THIS ISSUE:
A. Mal 3:5 And I will come near to you to judgment; and
I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not me, saith the LORD of hosts.
B. 1Th 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.
By not taking action immediately members of the Council that had knowledge of the allegation have given members the feeling there is a double standard. It is alleged that the minister involved in adultery is a close friend of some on the Council, or is on the Council himself, and has therefore received special treatment.
If this is true it appears to be a double standard and would be totally unacceptable. Other men have not been allowed to be ministers because they committed adultery with a member. Our policy has been that the United Church of God would not employ any minister that committed adultery with a member. Does this policy have merit? – Matthew 16:19 …whatsoever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven! It would appear that, if the alleged offender accepted his ministerial position under false pretenses (e.g. being knowledgeable of the Church’s policy but accepting employment anyway) that the Church has a right to dismiss him.
C. Exo 20:14 You shall not commit adultery.
This is the standard. We all understand men make mistakes, but a man should not be allowed to make this mistake and remain a minister or hold a position of authority over brethren.
D. 1Co 5:5 to deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.
Paul’s example to us was to put the offender out of the Church. I am concerned that those who were knowledgeable of this issue have taken no action to address this situation.
4.0 Article 4.3.1 of the Constitution – GOOD STANDING
An elder is in good standing if he is and remains a member and minister of the United Church of God,
an International Association, is of good reputation and above reproach in his community, and continues to meet the scriptural qualifications for the ministry as outlined in 1 Timothy 3, Titus 1 and other scriptures. Whether an elder continues to meet these requirements shall be determined by the Council based upon such biblical standards and principles.
SCRIPTURES PERTINENT TO THIS ISSUE:
You shall not commit adultery.
1Ti 3:2 Then
it behooves the overseer to be without reproach, husband of one wife, temperate, sensible, well-ordered, hospitable, apt at teaching, Council of Elders November 16, 2009 Page 3 of 11
Whoever commits adultery with a woman lacks understanding; he who does it destroys his own soul.
Gal 5:19 Now the
works of the flesh are clearly revealed, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lustfulness,
Isn’t it clear that if the allegations are true, the minister involved is not an Elder in good standing? If we have not taken action to investigate this issue, why not?
ARTICLE 4.5 of the Constitution – EXPULSION, TERMINATION OR SUSPENSION OF MEMBERSHIP
Membership in the General Conference
may be suspended or terminated, or an elder may be expelled by the Council, based upon biblical standards and principles. An elder whose membership has been suspended or terminated, or who has been expelled, may exercise no rights under this article or the duly approved bylaws of the Corporation except as provided in 4.5.2 below.
SCRIPTURES PERTINENT TO THIS ISSUE:
1Co 5:5 to deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.
If you have taken no action to investigate the allegation than how can you invoke this Article? A Church member would be dealt with immediately. To members of the church it looks like we have two standards; one for ministers and another for members.
Lev 24:22 Ye shall have one manner of law, as well for the stranger, as for one of your own country: for I
am the LORD your God – implying everyone should be treated the same.
Everyone should be treated the same under the law, and by extension, our Constitution, Bylaws, and policies.
ALLEGED ACTS OF OMMISSION
A. We did not take action.
1Ti 5:20 Those who sin,
rebuke before all, so that the rest also may fear.
B. We did not apprise the minister involved of the allegations.
Tit 2:1 But you speaks
the things which become sound doctrine…
Tit 2:15 Speak these things, and exhort, and
rebuke with all authority. Let no one despise you.
C. We have not evaluated the minister in question for “good standing” according to our Constitution.
D. If the allegations are true, we have taken no action to suspend or terminated the Elder in accordance with our Constitution. Council of Elders November 16, 2009 Page 4 of 11
Actions Requested in accordance with our Constitution, Bylaws and Fundamental Beliefs:
1. I request that legal counsel to the United Church of God, Larry Darden, review these issues immediately and determine if any member of the Council of Elders violated our Constitution, Bylaws, Fundamental Beliefs or policies and report his findings to the Council of Elders. Furthermore, I request that Mr. Darden issue a legal opinion regarding whether the Council of Elders may have violated California Law, and as legal counsel to the Council of Elders issue a confidential opinion solely to the Council of Elders.
2. I request you contact, or meet with, the Minister in question by November 26,
3. I request that you ask him if the allegation is true. If he acknowledges his sin, and is repentant, I request you offer him reassignment to a non-ministerial position where he has no direct authority over a Church member,
4. I request that if he disavows his sin you indicate to him an investigation would ensue immediately, and the investigation would commence not later than seven days after he is contacted,
5. I request that you apprise him that if he is found guilty he will be disfellowshiped.
2. I am offended that the Council of Elders would engage in deception by asking its previous reporter to change the Council reports so that they would falsely portray a more positive and unified Council – that is the epitome of deception.
Mr. Foster, previous Council Reporter, will testify to this offence. The reason given for removing Mr. Foster from his position was budget considerations. Clearly Mr. Foster’s release was not about budget. Were the same men with whom Mr. Foster disagreed about changing the Council Report involved in his release? If so, this appears to be vindictive behavior unbefitting an Elder(s).
I request that any Elder who pressured Mr. Foster to change his Council Report to falsely portray a more positive and unified Council, or was involved in Mr. Foster’s release, be sanctioned by the Ethics Committee and if members of the Ethics Committee were involved that they should be sanctioned by an ethics board independent of the Council of Elders such as the EEAC.
3. I am deeply offended by the existence and previous use of an Alternate Elders Forum which constitutes a blatant disregard by some Council members of a long standing policy that an elder would privately fast and pray and ask God’s guidance before voting on Church matters. This is not a matter of freedom of speech, the Elders are credentialed by the Church and they have an obligation to abide by its policies.
The Council’s previous stance that no bloc voting occurred is no longer valid in light of Mr. Johnson’s recent letter. Now that we know there could have been bloc voting, there is reason to suspect it occurred based on the unexpected results of several ballots including the one rescinding the move to Denton, Texas. How is it that certain Elders, some of whom are in positions of leadership in the Church of God, do not seem to understand the principle of avoiding the appearance of evil?
Council of Elders November 16, 2009 Page 5 of 11
The administration provided a Forum for Elders to discuss issues. Wasn’t the Alternate Elders Forum created in secret – what does the bible have to say about things that are not done in the light? Isa 29:15
Woe to those who go deep to hide their purpose from Jehovah! And their works are in the dark, and they say, who sees us? And who knows us? Eze 8:12 And He said to me, Son of man, have you seen what the elders of the house of Israel do in the dark, each man in his image room? For they are saying, Jehovah does not see us; Jehovah has forsaken the earth.
God knows what occurred and will not be mocked. Didn’t the Alternate Elders Forum prevent certain men from participating?
Romans 16:17: “Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them.” Isn’t it reasonable to assume they excluded certain men because they were afraid that the prospective participants did not share their agenda? Can you not see that the Alternate Elders Forum had the appearance of evil, caused division, and was subversive in nature?
Many in the Church believe the results of recent ballots are perverted because of the existence of the Alternate Elders Forum, evidence of bloc voting, and because those involved in the Alternate Elders Forum have not come forth and provided a complete record of their communications. All ballot results during and immediately after the time when the Alternate Elders Forum was active should be disregarded since they are perverted and because members of the church have no faith that the results of those ballots are honest.
SCRIPTURES PERTINENT TO THIS ISSUE:
1Th 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.
There is no disputing this issue. Didn’t Elders involved in the Alternate Elders Forum understand this basic concept?
1Ti 3:2 Then
it behooves the overseer to be without reproach, husband of one wife, temperate, sensible, well-ordered, hospitable, apt at teaching,
How could Elders who participated in the Alternate Elders Forum believe they were abstaining from the appearance of evil, and how could they be without reproach if they participated in something that was selective, subversive, and secretive.
The actions of those that participated in the Alternate Elders Forum has resulted in division among Church members, mistrust of Church leaders, and a belief that certain members of the Council of Elders hold their positions through deceptive practices.
I request that any member of the Council of Elders who participated in the Alternate Elders Forum acknowledge their mistake, and for the sake of peace in the Church, resign their position(s) on the Council by November 26, 2009. If this would result in less than a quorum on the Council I ask that the creator of the Alternate Elders Forum and three additional members resign immediately. Furthermore, I ask that you inform me as to the procedure whereby other members involved in the Alternate Elders Forum will resign if the number of members involved in the Alternate Elders Forum exceeds four. Council of Elders November 16, 2009 Page 6 of 11
Furthermore, I request that by November 26, 2009 the Council demand that any Elder involved in the Alternate Elders Forum make all communications that occurred on the Alternate Elders Forum available to a third party attorney. That attorney would protect the secrecy of the names of men involved, and would be charged with the task of determining if any of the allegations surrounding the Alternate Elders Forum are true. The following questions should be included and if any member of the Council of Elders has additional questions let them be added to the list.
1. Did any participant solicit votes for candidates for the office of Council of Elders?
2. Did any participant solicit votes to rescind the move to Denton, Texas?
3. Did any participant solicit other participants to support de-centralization of Church government and/or authority?
4. Did any participant solicit support to oppose immersion training of ministers?
5. Did any participant solicit support to oppose construction of a ministerial training facility?
4. I am deeply offended that some members of the Council of Elders hold their positions through deception, by use of the Alternate Elders Forum
Any member of the Council of Elders who participated in the Alternate Elders Forum and/or bloc voting are guilty of deception since they led other members of the General Conference of Elders and members of the Church to believe they were honest in their dealings, when in fact they were participating in a secret organization devised for the purpose of hiding their actions, discussions, and agenda. Those deceptive practices occurred during and after the time when the Alternate Elders Forum existed.
As stated in item 2. the Alternate Elders Forum has the appearance of evil. Add to that the suspicion of bloc voting among men that are supposed to be “above reproach” and the whole thing is questionable at best. You have said there is no evidenced of bloc voting and it did not occur (that position has been clarified by Mr. Johnson’s letter). There is of course much circumstantial evidence that bloc voting did occur:
A. Was the creator of the Alternate Elders Forum subsequently elected to the Council of Elders?
B. Did the move to Denton, Texas get rescinded during the time when the Alternate Elders Forum was active?
C. Did the plan to build a facility for immersion training of ministers get stopped during or after the time the Alternate Elders Forum existed?
D. There was an anonymous letter from a person purporting to be an Elder in the Church indicating those involved in the Alternate Elders Forum agreed to vote for a certain slate of men,
E. Didn’t a letter from an Elder in 2007 openly solicit votes for certain candidates; is it possible that Elder was also on the Alternate Elders Forum?
Council of Elders November 16, 2009 Page 7 of 11
F. It is alleged that Scott Ashley is openly declaring there is nothing wrong with bloc voting and made comments in an interview to that affect. While that may be his position, he has an obligation as a member of the Council of Elders to refrain from undermining our policies. Members who are aware of this allegation assume that, if he believes there is nothing wrong with bloc voting it, and he espouses his beliefs publicly, he probably participated in bloc voting during recent ballots.
There is other evidence forthcoming that I am not at liberty to disclose at this time.
I request that all members of the Council of Elders sign a statement that they did not participate in bloc voting. Any member of the Council of Elders who refuses to sign such a statement, or who participated in bloc voting, or supported the concept of bloc voting either by the Alternate Elders Forum, by direct solicitation of votes by telephone, e-mail or any other means of communication, or by any other means, acknowledge their mistake, and for the sake of peace in the Church, resign their position(s) on the Council by November 26, 2009. If this would result in less than a quorum on the Council I ask that four members resign immediately and that you inform me as to the procedure whereby other members involved in bloc voting will resign their positions.
5. I am offended by the report offered as evidence by the Council of Elders that there was no evidence of block voting. Council’s use of that report in such a manner is simply put, a misrepresentation of Mr. Johnson’s findings. I do not know if such misrepresentation was intentional, but this has the appearance of evil.
Dave Johnson’s letter of September 8, 2008 was misinterpreted and used as the foundation of the Council’s report regarding bloc voting. Mr. Johnson’s letter to Roy Holladay, dated November 4, 2009, set the record straight. His letter appears to have been misconstrued to support a position by some on the Council that bloc voting didn’t occur.
Because the Council of Elder’s report is based on a misapplication of Mr. Johnson’s findings, I ask that you issue a Church-wide retraction of the Council’s report on bloc voting by November 26, 2009. Furthermore I ask that the retraction by handled in a manner that informs Elders and members of the Church that the report is inaccurate and should not be used.
6. I am deeply offended that actions of the Council of Elders have caused me to feel my Church has been kidnapped by usurpers who have manipulated Local Elders to gain control and redirect the Church to a path that will decimate the congregations – the flock Christ asked Peter to feed three times to evidence that he loved him!
Any member of the Council of Elders who benefited from their participation in the Alternate Elders Forum or bloc voting is a usurper of honest men who did not participate in the forum and/or bloc voting. Any and all Elders that were invited to participate in the Alternate Elders Forum under the pretense of doing good, were manipulated to do evil – they were invited to conduct themselves in a manner that did Council of Elders November 16, 2009 Page 8 of 11
not “avoid the appearance of evil”. Every Elder and every member of the United Church of God has been manipulated, through misinformation in the Council of Elder’s report on bloc voting, to believe that the voting process and actions of the Elders have been above reproach. That is not true of every Elder – Elders that participated in the Alternate Elders Forum or participated in bloc voting are not: above reproach; are not blameless; are not of good behavior; and are not Elders in good standing; and have acted dishonestly.
The Alternate Elders Forum and bloc voting allowed men who otherwise would not have held office to seize control of the Church and redirect it in a direction that is unacceptable to most of the ministry and many of the members. The politics, innuendo and deception surrounding the last several votes for the Council have caused many Elders to be so offended by the Council’s actions they have chosen to not take part in the process. Had they not been completely offended and opted out, their votes could have changed the outcome of recent ballots which rescinded the move to Denton, Texas, and put certain men in their positions on the Council of Elders. Please do not be blind to these issues it will rip this Church apart and it will be on our heads.
The way some Elders in the Church have conducted themselves in this matter is a complete and utter shame. It is shameful that the actions of some members on the Council of Elders have caused members of the church to believe that, for fear of vindictive reprisal, Ministers and Elders have not taken action in these matters, and because of that, Church members have been compelled to stand and take action. I have spoken to Elders that feel intimidated by the Council of Elders and believe they cannot speak or act for fear of being threatened, sanctioned or de-frocked. If I have not given you enough information to address this issue, we could obtain further evidence to the question of manipulation by asking every Elder in the Church if they have felt manipulated or intimidated in any way by the Council in these matters and if so to come forward and testify.
7. I am deeply offended that the Council of Elders has completely disregarded not only Mr. Armstrong’s experience regarding decentralized Church government, wherein he lost virtually every Church that was placed in the hands of local men, but also the experiences of other organizations that have suffered the ill affects of decentralization, an action that ultimately results in the divergence of beliefs, and will destroy the fabric of our Church as assuredly as the changes instituted by Joseph Tkach destroyed the World Wide Church of God.
I offer Mr. Armstrong’s autobiography as evidence to this matter. Mr. Armstrong moved to Pasadena, even though members in Oregon did not want him to do it, to better position the work and establish a strong centralized government and training facility. He was so committed to that process that he opened a second campus in Big Sandy, Texas. Why then did members of the Council sponsored an agenda item to rescind the move to Denton, Texas where we planned to build a facility that would accommodate all the needs of the Church just as those in Pasadena, California and Big Sandy, Texas did previously. The subsequent vote, which many believe was perverted, prevented the move and construction of new facilities. Mr. Armstrong believed in, and implemented, immersion training because he believed it was the best way to train ministers. He believed ministers should have a strong relationship with a central authority and they should be accountable to that authority. Virtually all ministers in our Church are a product of HWA’s system of immersion training.
Although considerable evidence was presented to the Council regarding this matter the Council has not provided such a program. By not providing a facility to draw candidates for the ministry you are destroying it through attrition. Most of the ministers are nearing retirement and can no longer serve as Council of Elders November 16, 2009 Page 9 of 11 as they once did.
Who will run the local Churches when we no longer have enough ministers to serve them? It would fall to local men who already have full time jobs or older men who don’t have the energy necessary to do the job adequately. I will state again, Mr. Armstrong lost virtually every Church he left in the care of local men. It will not happen tomorrow, or next year, but in five to ten years the United Church of God will have little resemblance to the Church we know today if this issue is not properly addressed.
8. I am deeply offended that in-spite of the dire condition of our ministry, that the Council of Elders appears to be taking no action to institute a program to replace aging and/or retiring ministers with replacements of adequate number and quality.
Members of the Council of Elders should not misconstrue the facts regarding our present system of education. The Administration and Ministerial services requested our current training program because they realize anything is better than nothing. It is my understanding, based on public information (you may look to your own Council Reports) that we will begin to lose ministers to retirement, health issues and death faster than we can fill those positions. Your current system is a stop gap measure that may stem losses in the short term, but it does not address the question of adequate candidates, reaching a greater number of candidates, or the quality of candidates for the future. It has been made clear to you that professionals in the field of education believe immersion training is the best way to teach and evaluate students. Are you not willing to listen to wise counsel? Do you not believe that our ministry deserves the best methods available? You say you are in favor of a full time ministry but you actions indicate otherwise. The present course of action will lead to a decline in the number of adequate candidates for the ministry and eventually to a decline and ultimate disappearance of the type of ministry that serves us today.
Our ABC program, coupled with a seminary using true immersion training, would entice more young people to be involved just as Ambassador College did, and provide a greater pool of candidates that could be evaluated for the ministry. Your current course of action will result in the slow demise of our ministry through attrition. In ten years we will not recognize the Church of God.
I request that you immediately give Administration and Ministerial Services authority to plan and implement an immersion training program consistent with the methods used by Mr. Armstrong and the Administration’s previously proposed immersion program.
9. I am offended that the Council of Elders seems to have disregarded testimony by the President regarding the importance of training new ministers through the use of an immersion program that allows complete training in spiritual matters and the concomitant evaluation of ministerial candidates through close interaction.
Refer to Council minutes for evidence. As I stated above the Administration and Ministerial services requested the current program of education because they realize anything is better than nothing. You have indicated the current system is fine because it is what the Administration and Ministerial services requested. I invite the Council to ask the Administration and Ministerial Services if they believe the current training program is a true immersion training program like they envisioned, and if it is the best program available for training ministerial candidates. Council of Elders November 16, 2009 Page 10 of 11
10. I am offended that men holding positions through deceptive means have used politics to prevent the Church from implementing a plan to develop land that in every way would serve as a superior location for our offices and a teaching facility. The man that sold us the land sold it to the Church when he had offers of more money – he did so because he got online to check out the Church and admired what we stood for and he knew that we would be good neighbors to his friends on adjacent properties. I am ashamed to think what he must be thinking now. The actions of the Council have besmirched the reputation of our Church and our Creator.
Any member of the Council of Elders who benefited from their participation in the Alternate Elders Forum or bloc voting, or holds his office as a result of the Alternate Elders Forum or bloc voting, holds his position through deceptive means. The Alternate Elders Forum at its best was a political device, at its worst it reeked of the appearance of evil, deception, secrecy not openness, and exclusion which is diametrically opposed to the name of our Church – The United Church of God! The vote to rescind the move to Denton, Texas was perverted by the existence of the Alternate Elders Forum.
For information about the benefits of moving the work to Denton, Texas refer to reports prepared by Jim Franks, Clyde Kilough and Dr. Kirkpatrick indicating:
A. The original study conducted for the Church indicated Texas was the best place for the work. If the original vote to relocate had not been split between two Texas cities, Houston and Dallas, the work would have been located in Texas from the beginning, not Cincinnati, Ohio,
B. There is not enough room in Cincinnati to meet the growing needs of the Church; we were advised that if we renovate the building as was suggested it would be so specialized that it would be very difficult to sell,
C. Construction costs are lower in Denton, Texas than they are in Cincinnati, Ohio,
D. The cost of living in Denton, Texas is lower than in Cincinnati, Ohio,
E. Weather in Denton, Texas is more moderate than in Cincinnati, Ohio,
F. There is an international airport within forty five minutes of our land in Denton, Texas,
G. The amount of money that could be saved by flying out of DFW airport as opposed to the Airport in Cincinnati was approximately $50,000 per year in FY2007,
H. The land in Denton, Texas is located in a high growth area which will appreciate in value over time, as would the houses of Church staff that lived nearby,
I. The land in Denton, Texas would accommodate all our needs including facilities for immersion training of ministers.
Because the vote to rescind the move to Denton, Texas may have been perverted by the existence of the Alternate Elders Forum (I’m sure the appearance of evil, deception, and secrecy surrounding the Alternate Forum, coupled with Dave Johnson’s letter will show there is reason to doubt the truthfulness of that ballot and question its results), and because of the division this issue has caused in the Church, I request a member of the Council of Elders, or Officer of the Church, sponsor an agenda item for the upcoming General Conference of Elders that would allow them to vote to throw out the results of the ballot rescinding the move to Denton, Texas. In the intervening time, I request that the land not be sold. Council of Elders November 16, 2009 Page 11 of 11
Because of the offences that you have caused me personally, and the offences felt by many of my friends and associates in the Church, I hereby ask the Council of Elders to redress the offences listed above by implementing the actions I requested. I continue to believe the many members have had their confidence shaken and are at risk of leaving our organization. You should know that members are openly discussing withholding tithes because of these issues.
If implementation of my requests results in the expulsion of some members of the Council of Elders, those positions can be filled by alternates, or the General Conference of Elders can repopulate the Council of Elders through a vote, or other means, that does not include politics, lobbying, deceptive practices or the appearance of evil, but a vote based on individual prayer, fasting and guidance from God’s Holy Spirit. I request that those Council Members involved in the Alternate Elders Forum, bloc voting, or those that have openly defied our policy regarding bloc voting, will withhold their names from consideration during subsequent ballots.
This is the first step in the process described in Matthew 18:15. I hope this matter is resolved quickly. I have indicated I will meet with members of the Council of Elders on November 18th if you believe that would facilitate a resolution. If we cannot resolve these issues, I believe I should proceed immediately to the next step in the process. Since you have acknowledged receipt of my first letter I agree with your legal counsel that there is no reason to return with witnesses. Therefore, if we cannot agree and be reconciled, I will petition the General Conference of Elders and request they redress the offenses.
I know I am not the only person who has inquired about these issues. Many people are upset about the direction of the Church and have suspicions of impropriety. Those suspicions have led us to the brink of division. I ask you to address these issues in a manner that will heal the Church and reunite us. I await your timely response.
God Be With You,
Member, Houston North Congregation
I hope that this helps people from both sides to understand the situation and how the split transpired. See also the UCG COGWA Split article.
UCG is heading to the evangelical route and has already been “programmed’ to accept that. COGWA will do whatever Jim Franks wants, and Jim Franks will do whatever he wants in the name of Herbert.
Like Pack, Flurry and others; HWA is only a cloak for doing their own ways in Herbert’s name. They only USE Herbert’s name to control as many brethren as they can.
As these groups hide under Herbert’s name, they do as they please, or cling to false traditions; in either case they do NOT KEEP God’s commandments in any practical zeal, nor do they do those things pleasing to God!
For these reasons they have separated themselves from God and his sound doctrine; their prayers are not heard, God’s Spirit of understanding is quenched and they drift further and further away from the sound doctrine of the Word of God.