Monday, 7 May 2007

Off to Dallas

Word on the street - or at least on some Internet sites - is that UCG's powers-that-be have made the final decision on Dallas, and it's all steam ahead. Whatever short term benefits, the move to Texas is probably another nail in the coffin for the hope of a balanced, articulate COG body that engages brain before kneejerk. Remember what happened to that infamous "liberal" GTA after moving to the Lone Star State?


DennisDiehl said...

It's twilight years move to be near family by the leadership...plain and simple. Nice to have choices, others don't have.

DennisDiehl said...

Gavin..I'm a bit concerned about your choice of hats. That's looking a little too phalic to me and pagan symbols in UCG are an issue, so what are yout thinking?
For youins' know it, Bob Thiel will be commenting on how LCG doesn't do crosses again!

Unknown said...

As a UCG member I can't help but find your comment ridiculous. UCG needed more room to grow. The cost of land around DFW area was 40-50% less than similar property in the Cincinnati area. The current property could not be developed much more than it is and would have to be sold in any case. I believe the cost of contruction is less expensive as well.

I'm not saying UCG is a perfect organization, but I think it strikes a better balance than most xCGs between trying to establish some unity and hardliners. I see that you think that people in Texas are more looney than people in Ohio. I've lived in both places, and that is just not true.

It's very easy for you to make up motivations that just don't exist.

Corky said...

Rachael said...
As a UCG member I can't help but find your comment ridiculous.

As a UCG member you naturally would. It's because you don't know "The Plain Truth" about Armstrongism.

If you ever do escape that mind control organization and a little light shines into you mind, you won't find that comment ridiculous at all.

Some just have to stay and learn the hard way, sad to say, but pay close attention to what happens in the near future.

"It's very easy for you to make up motivations that just don't exist."

Pay close attention to what happens and if you don't ignore it you might come out all right.

ucg13er said...

I'm a UCG member too, but I have to disagree with Rachael because the scope of all this happened within a narrow framework that did not consider a 21st century model for doing the work.

We are no longer bound to physical structures or locations, thanks to the abundance of technology available that allows telecommuting, teleconferencing, online degrees, and a worldwide presence via the internet. This option was never considered to tackle the issue of growth and I think it's a serious oversight.

The UCG leadership simply looked at one outdated solution to the problem without considering the much more economical technology solutions that would have addressed not only the current issues but future ones concerning growth, accessibility, and worldwide presence.

That kind of thinking outside of the box will be the real challenge for the organization in the future. It seems wasteful to fly the COE to San Diego and pay for flights, hotels, and meals for several days and it also seems wasteful to fly all the Feast coordinators to DFW for 2007 Feast planning (which got a nice spin in the United News on how great it was) when all of this could have been accomplished using technology and spending a lot less money on administration.

After all, the mission is to preach the gospel and prepare the church and that's primarily what tithes and offerings should be used for. Administrative costs are obviously associated with that, but they could be far lower than what is being proposed.

It's a mystery to me that any organization, in this economically and politically unstable world, would choose to go from being debt-free to incurring a lot of debt based on a temporary (2 years) increase in income. What if all the tithe payers lose their jobs? Chapter 11 looms and anything they own will be taken away.

It's just not fiscally responsible nor is it a long-term good plan.

DennisDiehl said...

"The cost of land around DFW area was 40-50% less than similar property in the Cincinnati area. The current property could not be developed much more than it is and would have to be sold in any case. I believe the cost of contruction is less expensive as well."

Well maybe we'd have to compare the cost of land around the Cinci airport which is in Kentucky to make that a more fair statement. I suppose land located on the final approach is cheap, so I could be wrong.

I guess I really don't care what they do. I don't have to pay for it.

Unknown said...

Corky - I am not in a mind-control organization. I just find it ridiculous that Gavin thinks that UCG has no chance of becoming "balanced" because the headquarters are in Texas and not in Ohio. That's just his left wing bias coming out.

I am paying attention. I notice that Les McCullough was voted off the Council and he was one of those scouting locations. Definitely, it was in his interest to propose moving the Home Office.

ucg13er - again I was saying it's ridiculous to think the church is not balanced because of location in the US. You could definitely be right about there needing to be more consideration for 21st Century technology. However there are some things where it just makes sense to get together face to face. And having a facility for that makes it easier. Also, there is a huge need to train international members so that they can minister to their own congregations. I just don't think the internet and long-distance learning can accommodate that. So my opinion on that is that they are taking on the debt so that there will be the infrastructre to grow the church. GASP - I'm sure that sounds horrible to people who see this blog.

One more comment - the UCG realtor from the Cincinnati area that wanted to keep them in the area said it was in our best interest to move to DFW area.

ucg13er said...


I respectfully disagree with you for the need for a physical location to facilitate the education of an international ministry. Face-to-face is easily accomplished with technology, but it is not required to provide an education. The cost of trying to educate an international ministry by bringing them here is vastly more than doing it where they are.

Many US-based companies and corporations are global now and they use technology to handle their global staffs and needs. That is the fiscally prudent approach to the future, not wasting money on buildings and land.

You spoke of infrastructure. That should be a technological infrastructure that utilizes everything that is available (and, again, that companies worldwide are using already) to accomplish the goals of preaching the gospel and preparing a people.

The idea of a physical location is antiquated and it will never satisfy an enterprise that presumably will continue to grow and expand. It will not even satisfy the present needs, but will present an ever-expanding black hole of debt and continous mode of playing catch-up.

This was not considered and should have been. Of course, half of the elders nixed it and that should raise some red flags on whether all options have been considered and whether it really is the best way to move forward.

Rob K said...

ucg13er said... The idea of a physical location is antiquated...

Would that it were so! Do you have any experience with telecommuting? Do you have any experience with distance collaboration? Do you talk with co-workers on the other side of the country every single day? I do and it sucks! It doesn't work anywhere nearly as well as being in the same office, and that is just for writing software. Video conferencing is no better than simple teleconferencing and in some ways is worse. Some jobs can be done part of the time through telecommuting, and UCG probably is as geographically distributed as is possible right now, but most of the daily work that UCG does cannot be done via telecommuting. Camera men cannot telecommute. Sound crews cannot telecommute. Secretaries cannot telecommute.

Gavin et al. automatically ascribe malice as the motivation for all actions of any COGs. They don't even give stupidity a chance, let alone good intentions.

if you think going to Texas makes you a right-wing nut job, you should investigate Austin, the Berkley of Texas. Then there was Ann Richards, their former governor...

Unknown said...

It appears Gavey has been watching too much "King of the Hill". Looks like the old boy needs a trip to Houston, San Antonio, Brownsville/Corpus Christi or as one person put it.... Austin.

Do us a favor, put down your remote, you look like an idiot.

Neotherm said...

One of the contributors pointed out that a change in location has no affect on the philosophical development of the UCG. Gavin suggested that it did.

In defense of Gavin, I believe that the move to Texas will herald a new conservatism in the UCG. Nobody in the world is more concerned with appearance and symbolism than Armstrongites. They live in the world of spin and image making.

No doubt many of the people at the Cincinnati site have a sentimental attachment to Texas. Many were educated there, at Big Sandy and then, in some cases, Texas colleges and universities.

When I was in Big Sandy, it was clear that Dallas and Houston had magnetic appeal, as if they were at the end of the Yellow Brick Road. These cities are actually dirty, violent cities that most real Texans regard as hardship locations. But the crass affluence appealed to Armstrongites. Dallas figured into many get-rich-quick schemes.

With a move to this location, I believe you will see a return to the good old days of Armstrongism. The sentimental attachment is not just to the region, but to the Armstrongism of the Seventies. The rigid class structure, the Phariseeism, the judgementalism, the delicious feeling of being right when everyone else is wrong.
While the UCG never abandoned these social dynamics, it is probably time for a revival.

So watch for two trends in association with this move: 1) a published renewal of committment to conservative Armstrongism and 2) revival being preached from UCG pulpits. I would be dumbfounded if this move were simply couched in terms of a cold business decision. It will be rich grist for the Armstrongite mill.

-- Neo

Corky said...

"Rachael said...
Corky - I am not in a mind-control organization."

You know, I said that same thing back in 1970 until 1975 in Prophecy turned out to be bogus. And no wonder, all the rest of HWA's prophecies were also bogus and failed to "come to pass". Hitler was going to win the war back in the 30s and 40s according to HWA.

A church founded by a false prophet cannot be good and neither can it's branches. A corrupt tree cannot bring forth good fruit and HWA is the root of the tree.

Unknown said...

A few final comments, I have no desire to beat a dead horse.

Corky - just because HWA was wrong on some things doesn't mean the ministry is standing up at the podium beaming mind control thoughts out into the zombie audience. I can only surmise that's what you think. There has been quite a bit of healthy dissent in my congregation over the years.

ucg13er - I think that on the whole United has been managed pretty fiscally conservatively. I do not think we are being led down a black hole of debt. And really - if you live in Malawi, where we have some brethren, you can barely get electricity let alone a laptop or a phone to take online course. If all the tithe payers lose their jobs, and they come take everything in Chapter 11, then so be it. I believe that would mean the end is really here (COG version or otherwise) and then we would have much bigger worries than UCG Home Office Campus.

What if this is more than a "temporary" blip? What if we don't plan for growth? Then we will be in even worse situation in a couple of years if we do nothing. The plan is for a phased in approach that can be expanded as the need arises, not build everything in 6 months. I respectfully disagree with you that all these things can be done JUST through technology.

Also - do you think all of the Global companies never fly people around for training and meetings? They do video conferencing, e-mail, phone, and periodically take international business trips. Sometimes people even have extended trips for face to face time when required. Technology can reduce the need for face to face, but it will never eliminate it.

Neotherm - Houston and Dallas are areas that are on the rise now and are much better than they were. I anticipate that you will be dumbfounded.

ucg13er said...


Respectfully, back up a second, please. Planning for growth implies something that hasn't really materialized in almost 12 years. And it's a smokescreen (or spin) for doing things the old ways (I tend to agree with Neo on this one) in the guise of doing "the work."

Logically, what percentage of UCG members who are currently alive will be alive in 3 years? On the top optimistic end of things, maybe 50%.

Look at the demographics. UCG is mostly a bunch of significantly older folks who are pretty rapidly dying off daily.

So, if you extend that out to its logical conclusion, you're actually looking at a shrinking church, not a growing church even if God adds new people every day. Let's say He added one person a day every year and UCG has their published membership at 20,000. With half of that dying off in the next three years (at a rate of about 3333 per year), to get back to 20,000 (current membership) would take almost 30 years if one new person a day was added.

I don't buy the need for more space. Use what you've got and use it effective and be creative and think outside the box. How much face-to-face contact did the prophets have with anyone else who obeyed God? How much did the 1st century church when they were scattered after 70 AD when the temple was destroyed?

We're ignoring the history of the way God works. There is not a place on earth that can contain Him and His kingdom. Every time a group of people settled in and honed in on a place, God scattered them. I don't presume to know exactly why, but I suspect that getting tied down to physical things and places both takes our eyes off of Christ and the mission and leads into breaking the 2nd commandment (making people and places objects of worship - let's be honest! - instead of God).

It is God who calls and God who preserves His truth and His way of life. When's the last time you saw Him or Christ face-to-face? Does that make your faith, your belief, your trust any less sure, valid, committed?

All the arguments I've heard don't wash and when broken down in what's being said, they are more emotional and sentimental than they are real and practical.

IMHO...that and $5 will get you a cup of joe at Starbucks...

Anonymous said...

I would be interested to know where this growth is supposed to come from? I would have to imagine that they hemmorage young adults at a high rate starting at age 18 and probably through their mid to late twenties. At least at a higher rate than the old WCG did. A potential merger with another xcg perhaps? Possible, but not likely (At least not officially); there is always the unsolvable argument over who really is closest to the 'truth'. Perhaps Racheal or ucghomeoffice can give us some insight on where this future growth will come from. From the few people I know still attending an xcg, membership continues to dwindle.

Questeruk said...

ucg13er said...

'Logically, what percentage of UCG members who are currently alive will be alive in 3 years? On the top optimistic end of things, maybe 50%.'

Just hang on a minute ucg13er – Are you predicting a return of the black death or what? You state that at the very best only 50% of UCG will be alive in 3 years???
Even with an aging membership this is wildly high.

Are you suggesting the aveage 55 – 60 year old has a life expectancy of 3 years – no way!!!

Unknown said...

ucg13er - We just see things differently, and I don't expect to convince you.

According to the video - the growth is occuring in COG terms was co-worker donations. Eventually some of those people will become members.

I concur that the UCG population is aging rapidly, but please wake up and smell the longevity coffee. There is no way 50% of the membership is dying off within 3 years. There is no prohibition on UCG members going to doctors. If you want to say 15-20 years, I could go for that. Also - I don't know how many young adults leave, but I do know several who come back to church after drifting off in 18 to mid-20 land.

I wish I could remember the exact figure, but just to replace the ministry that will be retiring over the next few years I think was in the neighborhood of 20-30 a year to hire and train.

You could be right about not being attached to a place. But then we shouldn't be attached too much to Cincinnati either. I don't think they should spend too much money either, and I think we should take advantage of technology. I think this plan is trying to minimize the spending, given what we estimate infracture needs could be. I know you won't agree with that.

When all is said and done, you don't agree with the long term vision that was set out in the sermon video and the 2 hour presentation. And you have very valid points. At this point the decision has been made to move. I hope we can all move forward and support it so that no more division is caused.

ucg13er said...

Rachael and Questeruk,

The majority of UCG is in the elderly category (over 70). Longevity or not, doctors or not, they're just statistically not going to be around very long and that accounts for a high percentage of the current membership.

The 18-25 group is not coming back in droves after going on their own (just like they didn't in WCG) and there are relatively few in the 25-50 category that have stayed.

The boomers account for a small percentage as well, but they are the very group who's supposedly retiring (mirroring corporate America) from the ministry in the next few years.

I've seen both presentations and making big financial obligations based on "ifs" and "maybes" is just not sound. There's not going to be this huge influx at once that is so overwhelming that modest and planned-for adjustments can't be done quickly.

The strategy is like saying that each of us should plan for retirement by buying a piece of land and building a building because that's the best long-term strategy instead putting the money in a diverse group of investment accounts so it's there when it's need and in the meantime it has increased in value.

I agree that a younger ministry should be mentored and trained to take over gradually from those retiring. But, you and I are being trained for that in the KOG right now and we're not going off somewhere to learn it. Instead, we learn every day from being in the world but not of the world, by praying, by studying, by meditating, and by the mentoring of those in the body of Christ that who are truly striving to live God's way.

That is the best place and way to train, not going off to some school that is removed from real life and then coming out and pretending like you know it all.

I'm not saying there is not a place for a more academic type course, but those could be offered online and offered to everyone (a lot of ABC courses are online at - I've been through them all and gotten a lot of good instruction and material) which is the way to go.

In my work, I've telecommuted, I've done a lot of video and teleconferencing, and it is a lot easier and a lot cheaper (and it is face-to-face in the 2nd two instances) and a lot easier than physically having to be some place else all the time.

BTW, Rachael, this is a discussion. Not dissension. Nobody cares what you or I think - the decision has been made so this is just a after-the-fact discussion. However, I am, and I hope everyone else is, putting it in God's hands and asking that His will be done.

Obviously, the same types of discussions and thoughts we are having are among the CGE, since the vote was basically a dead-heat, so that is a pretty good indication that the fat lady probably hasn't sung yet!

KScribe said...

The young people of any religious group eventually leave due to the hardship's that the group imposes on them. Restrictions on personal freedoms, laws, brow beating and projections of fear, death, threats of Godly punishment from the pulpit, and may I add, pressure from parents (many church youth now disrespect) they all take there toll! The churches of god are the authors of their own destruction!

This generation that is now entering their twenties is a generation that demands freedom and shuns control. These young people have grown up and saw the demise of HWA, the exposed corruption of the various cog groups and ministerial dictates that reflect the attitudes of the early 20th century era in American society. (Remember that Herbert tried his best to project on us, the life he lived in the early American 20th century. A time he relished from the memories his of his youth.) They have watched with horror when the Chinese government suppressed the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989. These young people despise governments of oppression and seek out freedom from oppression. These young people have learned from being objective and not suppressive thought. What cog youth would be in support of a third world tyrannical regime? Perhaps a few, but they may very well be the your minister in the days to come.

I may also suggest that with the information on the Internet dealing with Herbert and the rest of the wanna be apostles of malpractice, only a fool, or natural born loser would be enticed. But then again, if they only bleed green for a year or two, it is after all PROFIT! What else matters in the corporate church?


Lussenheide said...

Just for statistical accuracy...

The average age for UCG is approximately 60 years old.

According to life insurance actuarial tables, the average 60 year old has a "half life" or average life expectancy of 20 years.

Therefore, UCG would be half of its size in 20 years, (and very old indeed) with yet another halving occurring just 7 years later according again to the stats. (Thus 1/4 the size they are now in 27 years) Current membership numbers are about 12,000.

There is generally attrition in a group due to people leaving a group, becoming dissatisfied, fading away, splinter groups or being disfellowshipped etc.

A 3% annual attrition rate is not unusual for a COG group, and a 3% attrition rate results in yet another halving of a group in just 24 years.

So we end up with just 1500 of the current 12,000 members being around in just 25 or so short years.

It will take 500 to 750 new baptized members a year for UCG just to maintain its current size of 12,000.

Can they achieve this?? I doubt it. Currently new members are costing in the neighborhood of $100k to $200k in specific marketing cost (magazines, radio, etc.)

However for sake of argument, let us just say that it is just $40,000 in cost per new member. This would still require the ENTIRE UCG budget of $20 Million a year just for UCG to MAINTAIN its current size.

My best hopeful projections are a UCG of just 4 to 6 thousand members, very elderly, in about 25 years, concentrated in the top 20 major metros of the USA.

Why the approach of asset based marketing, and infrastructure along the old WCG business model is beyond me. What is needed is a radical, membership empowered and revolutionary marketing approach. Upgraded service styles, with interactivity, live hip bands and music , cultural reform, causality (kill the suit and tie gig), community involvement, and making church "fun".

Anyone under the age of 45 wants and expects this from the institutions they VOLUNTEER to FREELY ASSOCIATE with. They do not want to "be owned", demand a say and voice, and demand to be empowered to be creative and proactive, and have "ownership" of their experience.

Will UCG hear this reasoning??...When hell freezes over!


Questeruk said...

Lussenheide said...

‘It will take 500 to 750 new baptized members a year for UCG just to maintain its current size of 12,000.’

Over the last five years UCG has a steady average of nearly 400 baptisms a year.

Even if you assume no growth in baptisms, using this figure you will get a much higher figure than the projected 4 to 6 thousand very elderly members in 25 years time.

DennisDiehl said...

Sounds more to me like God might be having marketing problems with his true people and truth that is so vital for every human on the planet to understand. He may have to yell louder when he calls the chosen ones and make it very clear that UCG is where they need to be. That would help a lot. Oh I know He can spank us with bad weather tornadoes, earthquakes, tsaunami and assorted droughts, but they are somewhat vague and can be mistaken for natural occurances.

Let's see...12,000 members would be the same number of people on this street between here and downtown. What insignificant churches we are talking about.

Questeruk said...

Luk 12:32 Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.

DennisDiehl said...

I know...the plan has always been.

1. God is not calling everyone now or even most and really barely any.
(Thus we are the little flock.)

2. The Church is a little flock and will always be so. (Takes the sting out of no growth. Actually the smaller the flock, the more true the teachers are.)

3. Most will come to God and Jesus after God has burned, plagued, beat and scared the crap out of them, so they willingly, and with joy, repent and feel happy again. This will be in the Second Res. Of course, where they will love and trust God for this forever more. Like the sign down the street. "Love Jesus or burn forever in Hell." (Yes Bob, I know "we" don't believe in an eternal hell in the LCG..of course.")

4. If they don't come to the Feast, God will starve them out with drought and then they will be happy to come just for the food for their kids and families.
(There will, of course, be a sermon on "are you here for the right reasons?" but they will be too hungry to lie.."No, our crops were destroyed by God so we had to come." )

5. What we need here is a God whose good pleasure is to give the KOG to all, gently, obviously, with simplicity, in person and without having to go through the organizations of the chosen ones so called.

The tried and true formula of "And this Gospel of the KOG shall go forth as a witness to all nations...and then shall the IN-come." works for thousands of years.

Neotherm said...

While churches with a missionary spirit (i.e., Christian churches) would find appalling Lussenheide's statistics concerning diminished future membership, Armstrongite organizations do not fit that pattern.

It is a point of pride with Armstrongites that they are few in number. This means that they will be a part of a small, highly rewarded elite. The smaller the better.

I recall talking with a friend back in about 1996 and learned from her that she was one of only seven people in the Global Church of God in her state. This was something that she relished. She was full of quotations about "the little flock".

Fewness served to strengthen her committment to Armstrongism and at the same time gave her a major ego stroke. The "first fruits" would be a very, very small group of people and she was one of them.

Of course, this attidue is antithetical to Christianity. Christians hope that others will be become Christians. Deep down, Armstrongites hope that people will not become Armstrongites. [A sidebar: I have known Armstrongites to get really excited about other Armstrongies leaving the fold. I think this is also based on the fewer, the merrier. In fact, my experience was that most of the information transmitted through the luxurious Armstrongite grapevine has to do with people either being disfellowshipped or leaving.] This, however, is not an entirely destructive attitude. The 100 year period plays in this. So I would say that Armstrongites do not want people to lose salvation, they just do not want others to have the same rank and status in the Kingdom of God as they have.

-- Neo

Corky said...

DennisDiehl said...
"I know...the plan has always been.

1. God is not calling everyone now or even most and really barely any.
(Thus we are the little flock.)"

You know, I've heard that same thing from other small cults but they are overlooking something:

Act 17:30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:

Is there something about, "commandeth all men everywhere" that says that all men everywhere are a small flock?

Of course, Jesus meant the twelve disciples when he said "little flock"

I remember HWA bragging about the "little flock" until it became the worldwide flock, then he bragged about the "big flock".

That's the way it is and the Germans won the war and Hitler is still alive and hiding in South America and 1975 ... well, you know.

Lussenheide said...


From the United News, January 2005

368 Baptized Around the World
In 2004, at least 368 new members were baptized around the world. This compares to 386 reported the previous year. In the United States almost the same number were baptized this year as last (176 and 177). Outside of the United States, 192 were baptized this year, compared to 209 in 2003. Here are the baptisms reported at press time:

Argentina - 6
Australia - 13
Bolivia - 5
Canada - 26
Chile - 13
Colombia - 1
Dominican Republic - 1
El Salvador - 4
France - 1
Germany - 1
Ghana - 28
Guatemala - 4
Kenya - 19
Malawi - 7
Mexico - 5
New Zealand - 2
Nigeria - 17
Peru - 8
Philippines - 25
Tanzania - 1
Togo - 1
Trinidad - 2
United Kingdom - 2
United States - 176

MY NOTE: Notice that ONLY 176 came from the USA, and that a large bulk came from 2nd World and 3rd World areas.

The bulk of UCG membership is USA based, so the 176 baptisms are nowhere near the amount necessary for "replacement value".

Furthermore, the organization is asset and monetary based in their business model. Growth in 3rd world areas represents not an "asset" to the "org" but rather a "liability" as such a member will tithe only very little, but will require maintenance costs by the Org.

Make no doubt about it. In all of the Corporate Orgs, a USA, Britain, Canadian, Australia convert is considered to be the equivalent of 10 3rd world converts because of the MONEY factor. I believe each soul is important to God on an equal basis, however, only the naive believe that non- white or non "British/Israeites" are valued as highly by the various "home offices" of the hierarchial orgs out there.

I will state it again, for the UCG to even just stay at current size and income, they must get rid of the "top/down" burgeoning beauracratic , top heavy and expensive business model that they are practicing.


Anonymous said...

Wow. The posts here are really lively! I can't help but wonder where the WCG would have been, had there been an internet back in the 60's and 70's! I am so new to this place, that I honestly didn't know that there were so many splinter groups in existence, and since I had taken a big "time out" from the organized WCG religion, I am getting a real education on the goings on of all the "UCG's", and "LCG's" and "FMG's" and other break off churches. Dave Pack has his OWN church? Blows me away. But as an innocent bystander, just visiting really, it all sounds so, so 1970. What is the purpose of an organized church anyway? Converts? Money to keep the hierachy comfortable? What's the message? Is it the dreaded "end times" again, to be in the first resurrection, to get to the kingdom? What will we do when we get there? What about the here and now? What about Christ's gospel about loving eachother as we love ourselves? Is God only calling WCGers, or UCGers, or LCGers. See, when I was a teenager in the early 70's, that was MY question, MY gripe. What about Mother Theresa, or the Dalai Lama, or a million other good decent God fearing people in this world who live the life, walk the walk. Why couldn't THEY too be in the first ressurection? Many of them better human beings than many WCGers. Why won't God give them the Kingdom too? Who are we to decide? Who decides who is "called"? Are the "first fruits" only those from WCG splinter groups? It is apparent by recent history that every single group has managed to fall back into the same rut, preach the good ole religion that separated the WGC in the first place. We all left because of division, backbiting, deception, confusion. No one wanted to give a straight answer to all the questions. People had to think for themselves for the first time in alot of years, and frankly, many can't still. Who cares who moves to Texas? Will it change my belief, my Faith? Go to Texas, go to Petra, I'll wait and see, and let God work it out. Peace, please, peace.

Ripley said...


Questeruk said...

whatmeworry said...
‘What about Mother Theresa, or the Dalai Lama, or a million other good decent God fearing people in this world who live the life, walk the walk. Why couldn't THEY too be in the first ressurection? Many of them better human beings than many WCGers. Why won't God give them the Kingdom too?’

Don’t confuse 2nd resurrection with some sort of ‘2nd class’ reward, which many seem to. When everyone is several million years down the line, what will being ‘1000 years older’ mean – very little or nothing.

You could say that those in the first resurrection have ‘position’ for 1000 years, but that means nothing for the eternity. In reality it seems to me that probably those in the 1st resurrection need the extra time to catch up with the Mother Theresa’s of the 2nd resurrection.

Then everyone will be on a ‘level playing field’.

Neotherm said...

Questeruk, you need to sit down with your local Armstrongite minister and get this straightened out. There is a decided difference in Armstrongite religious philosophy between those resurrected at Christ's return and those in the one hundred year period (I'm sorry, I cannot remember how Armstrongites enumerate these resurrections).

The former group are known as the "first fruits" with the attendant perquisites. The latter group are not "first fruits." In the One Hundred Year Period, people will not have to deal with the trials and afflictions that people now must deal with, etc.

And this means something for all eternity.

This, of course, side steps the issue that all of this is heresy and there is no One Hundred Year Period. There is no scriptural evidence for any kind of post-mortem evanglization.

HWA believed that the gospel message was a message of predictive prophecy about the end time events and the return of Christ. He saw no need to engage, for that reason, in evangelization. Armstrongism discourages any kind of missionary work. So what about all those people that Armstrongites are pointedly not taking the message of salvation to? They will be caught in the safety net of the One Hundred Year Period. All of this fits together nicely to underpin how HWA wanted to conduct operations. However, this model cannot be supported with scripture.

-- Neo

nevermore said...

Lussenheide, your statistics (or rather, UCG's statistics that you quoted) and your analysis are very telling indeed.

However, you failed to point out one very important factor: most of these baptisms are of young adults (18-24) who have grown up in the COG. There are VERY few people who have come into UCG/LCG/RCG etc from an outside faith.

A few years ago Victor Kubik requested that a study be performed to identify the number of individuals who were baptized that year that were also new to the church (i.e., had come into the organization as a result of UCG's outreach efforts). The results published in United News gave a figure less than 20, which would amount to approximately $1,000,000 per new baptism that comes from "the world".

As I recall, this was supposed to be an annual study and its results were to be published each year in United News. However, and not surprisingly, I have only seen it published that one time.

Make no mistake, most of those baptisms are NOT of new converts coming into the faith from the outside. They are of young adults who have grown up in the church. Kids of that age often don't even know who they are until their late 20s, so you can expect to see attrition rates continue.

Additionally, it is important to remember that educated, middle-class Americans today are having fewer kids. UCG is primarily made up of white, middle-class members. UCG is a shrinking organization, even if the numbers you quoted from United News paint a picture of growth. What is it Mark Twain once said -- "There are 3 kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics".

Questeruk said...

Neotherm - Don’t really need to ‘sit down with my local Armstrongite minister and get this straightened out’ thanks.

Quote from UCG literature.

‘God "desires all men to be saved" and is "not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance" (1 Timothy 2:4; 2 Peter 3:9). Through His wondrous plan, all of humanity will be given the opportunity to learn God's truth, come to repentance and receive salvation’.

That is fine by me, it matches what I read in the Bible, and is extremely positive – far more positive than most ‘religions of the world’.

        AMERICAN KABUKI said...

MSNBC had a TV segment on all the property going into foreclosure in Ohio. As for cheap Ohio real estate, there's always Cleveland!

The move seems odd, except for the fact that an apocalyptic mindset can never buy low and sell high. To do so requires hope for the future. It requires the wisdom on the emotional nature of mankind, despair and unreasonable price expecations are two sides of the economic coin. What goes up, goes down. What goes down, always comes back up. Eventually.

So they continue the great Armstrong tradition of buying expensive and selling cheap.

It does beg the question, will their office in Ohio even sell? It took the WCG several years to sell off prime Southern California real estate.

I think a bunch of ex-Big Sandy Council of Elders miss Texas sand chiggers.