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Comments are again being allowed.
I figure there may be someone who needs my help, and posting a comment may be easier than emailing me. I would prefer an email, but I am here to help those in need.

**Do you have history in the Worldwide Church of God? Are you still attending one of its offshoots? Do you see cracks in the doctrine and want more information, or do you not know why you're still there anymore? Is there a hole in your heart and just don't know why God isn't granting you the happiness you were promised would come through tithing and following a man? Do you find that no matter how hard you try you cannot live up to your own standards, and you feel like a failure? Do you find your pursuit of God to be based on fear?
Investigate with me the answers to these questions and more!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

What Do You Mean, One True Church - part 2

Here is the addendum to the first part of this post which you can find here.

The United Church of God has responded to my inquiry!
Here is the majority of their response to me (I've omitted the parts linking to their publications).

"Thank you for writing to us. I have to admit that I'm not exactly sure how to interpret your question.

If you're asking what sets the Church of God apart from other churches, I think the answer is clear. The doctrines of God's Church are quite different than mainstream Christian beliefs and include our understanding of the nature of God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit; our reliance on the inerrancy of Scripture; the purpose for which mankind was created; the observance of the weekly Sabbath and annual Holy Days; the purpose and role of the Church, etc. If you would like an overview of the teachings of the United Church of God, I suggest you read our booklet "Fundamental Beliefs of the United Church of God."

If you're asking what the United Church of God teaches that is different than what is taught by other "Churches of God," that's another question. Because many of us come from the same roots, many of the Church of God groups naturally have much in common with each other. We do not consider ourselves in competition with any other group, nor do we seek to compare ourselves with any. We regard those who believe and practice as we do to be our spiritual brothers and sisters. [empasis mine]

The following statement was issued by the United Church of God Council of Elders in May 2000:

"The Church of God is a spiritual body of which Jesus Christ is the head. Members are called into the Church, and God is preparing them for the Kingdom of God through the work of the Church. As the head of the Church, Christ has placed some in positions of leadership for the edification and unity of the Church. The United Church of God, an International Association, is a continuation of that body Jesus Christ founded. We, in the United Church of God, an International Association, do not claim that all Christians are among our fellowship. Neither do we claim to be the only organization through which God may be working. However, we have a distinct identity and endeavor to function according to the principles of unity and organization found in the Scriptures."

As a church, we remain dedicated to our stated purpose of "teaching the gospel and preparing a people." Article 1.0 in the United Church of God Constitution says, "The mission of the Church of God is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and the Kingdom of God in all the world, make disciples in all nations and care for those disciples." 

Thank you again for writing to us." --end quote

As you can see, the UCG excells their sibling churches by directly stating they are not in competition with anyone else.  I see that they are the only group to mention Jesus by name; another bonus!
On the down side, once again we see reliance on human understanding over the saving work of Jesus Christ.  The word "grace" is not found in this response.  (Keep in mind, this is but a brief summary of their positions).  Even so, I would have liked to see it prominantly displayed and at the forefront of the response.

Though I can hardly sum things up perfectly, I would love to see a COG tell me something like this:
"Jesus as 'the Word' was God and with God from eternity.  Having bound Himself to a perfectly sinless standard, a way had to be made for the redemption of mankind.  To that end, the Word became flesh, lived as a man, and died for the ransom of all mankind.  We now have, through His selfless sacrifice, unwarranted grace from God through faith in Jesus Christ.  God sends His Spirit to those who accept His calling in order to help us and to teach us in this life.  Though man is not saved by any personal work or understanding, the presence of the Spirit will be manifest in good works and a repentant heart.  One with God in spirit, we are all equals and brothers in the spiritual body of Christ, growing in the mind and ways of God throughout our lifetime.  The examples of both the Old and New Testaments are a guide and lesson for us in our journey.  And we await that day when we are called out of our graves to join Him in eternity - the assurance of which we have in the resurrection of Jesus Christ from His grave."

Something like that would be terrific.  I didn't see that, though.

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