United Church of God Has Split

The past 12 months have brought great change in the Church of God landscape.  The largest Church of God, United Church of God (UCG), has split with a large portion of the ministers and members leaving to form Church of God, a Worldwide Association (COGWA).

There may be several causes of the split.  Intent to liberalize doctrine on the part of the leadership of UCG may be an underlying cause.  Yet that has not yet been made clear.  But I believe church governance is a key component of this split.  It started with the removal of Latin American regional director Leon Walker because of an email he sent to some pastors under his supervision giving advice and information about voting in UCG elections, and because he refused to cancel a trip to meeting with UCG leaders at headquarters after he had already met with their representatives shortly before.  It ended with the firing or resignations of more than half the paid ministry.

Whatever the cause, the split has focused some attention on the issue of government in the Church of God.  We trace our recent history to the Worldwide Church of God led by Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong, he he governed the Church from the top down, submitting only to Christ and not to the voting of men.  But United Church of God has been governed from its inception from the ballot box.  Ministers elect a 12-man Council of Elders, and that Council governs UCG.

Now UCG has split, and a new group has formed.  COGWA has recently organized with a temporary leadership team and will yet determine its final form of governance.

It will be interesting to see what happens.

This has been a trial for many in the Church, but God allows these trials for our long-term good, to teach us lessons.  Our job is to learn the lessons God wants to teach us.

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