12/19/2010

Picking Cotton: UCG or Church of God America - Which?



J over at Shadows has put together an interesting poll about the UCG crisis. So far, amongst other things, the majority think the UCG is extremely close to a large split, the UCG crisis is the result of a power struggle, and there is little hope for reconciliation.

And Banned By HWA! covers the resignation of Greg Sargent, and the latest UCG split, the Church of God-America.

Now on all their websites, the COG-America (COGA) advertises the following claim:
1. Is Church of God – America the nucleus for a new corporate Church of God?
       No. Church of God-America is not a corporation nor was it started with the intention of becoming one. We are a voluntary association of pastors and elders who are committed to implementing the Ephesians 4 model for Church of God congregations.  

Even though COGA touts that it is not a new "corporate" COG, "corporate" legalities are not really the issue. The fundamental legal basis forming the Radio Church of God and then WCG is that of a Church Association (a church association also forms the legal basis of  present-day church UCGia).

Notice the name, United Church of God-an International Association. Churches may be organized as associations, with or without a set of written rules governing an association. But legal counsel will usually recommend a set of written, formalized bylaws and rules governing these associations be adopted to avoid legal problems, certain to occur at some point later on down the road.

These church associations may or may not then choose to form affiliated religious corporations (e.g., a separate, affiliated college) to add an additional layer of legal protection. Affiliated church corporations are a practical means of conducting business with banks and insurance companies, and provide further privacy from governmental investigation or outside scrutiny. The WCG and the UCGia church associations did this very thing when they incorporated in California.

Can using a religious association as the legal form for a church provide another layer of control, privacy, or secrecy? During the receivership, HWA fired, replaced, and then he disfellowshipped Wayne Cole- no questions asked. Tkach Jr. made a big splash over a decade ago, saying he intended to reform Armstrong's dictatorial and punitive WCG church association bylaws, but, as of 2010, Tkach has not yet once published the complete set of WCG/CGI church association bylaws. Is that lack of oversight inspiring credibility in Glendora?

On the other hand, the present day UCG ministry was once on the receiving end of those dictatorial bylaws used to control the WCG, by Armstong's infallible rod of iron. To be sure, no set of church association bylaws is perfect, but at least the UCG makes public the church association bylaws, church constitution and rules that are supposed to govern what happens in the Church, and some of the budget. Whether or not UCG's church association legal process is followed in practice is an entirely different matter, especially in light of the current crisis. 

2 comments:

Bad PK said...

Don't believe in evolution? Just look how many transmutations of the HWA gene exist - all because the fittest Christians survive these crises by forming new organizationisms (copyright pending). You can be sure that this won't be a simple 2-way split. Behold, the dawn of the Diaspora Armstrongites. Not separated by any real force other than the need to be the small flock prophecized to exist because of Satan's attack on THE TRUTH. "See how small and unorganized we are? We must be doing it right!" Look for those words like "servant leadership" (cringe) and "personal evangelism" (douche chills) to make a strong comeback. It's not that those things aren't important, it's that they have become buzz words to identify the tainted logic of a failed-businessman-turned-failed-prophet.

Anonymous said...

Bad PK:

Flu viruses are proven to mutate.

Why would the HWA flu genome be any different?