12 REASONS WHY I WILL NOT LEAVE THE UNITED
CHURCH OF GOD
on a sermon given to a Canadian UCG congregation)
As is well known, for the past two years or so the United
Church of God has gone through some challenging times. The tension
within the ministry has escalated to the point where now we are seeing
the departing of a yet undetermined number of elders and a now
officially created splinter organization which promises greater
integrity and greater doctrinal purity.
The leaders of this new group are now hoping that a large
number of UCG members will join them into their “new” and “better”
organization and a number have already accepted the invitation.
I have not and will not. In fact, I strongly
disagree with these leaders’ choices and cannot accept their divisive
In this article I will share with you why I have never
even contemplated joining these individuals in their pursuit of the
"new" and the "better."
These are my major reasons:
I absolutely refuse to break my Father’s heart, one more
We are God’s family. Our loving Father detests seeing
divisions in His family. God demands that problems within His family be
whatever it takes
whatever amount of time it might take.
His heart has been broken many times since Lucifer created havoc in
God's family and has continued to be broken unto our days.
The Bible tells us that God hates divorce. Why? Because
of the turmoil that ensues. Because of the damage that ensues,
especially to the children. How much more so within God's own family;
how much more so with God’s children.
Going along with people who cause divisions without
sufficient and justifiable reasons means causing turmoil and anguish for
the many. It means tormenting and damaging the minds of God’s children,
and, consequently. it means adding pain to our Father's mind. I will
have no part of that.
I will not break my Father’s heart, one more time.
I will not leave United!
I WILL NOT BE GUILTY OF ADDING MORE WOUNDS AND MORE TEARS
TO CHRIST’S BODY.
There is a reason why the Church is called, "The Body of
Christ." It is something that is precious and dear to Him. It is His
Too many people through the ages have carelessly dared to
tear at and wound that precious body. Too many people have cut it
asunder and have done so with, at times, the most absurd and deplorable
I will not be guilty of such a terrible mistake.
Before Christ died, He made it clear in His prayer found
in John 17 that unity in His body was of the utmost importance to Him.
Please pay careful attention to His intense and heartfelt words which He
prayed with great intensity before He was killed.
11 Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the
world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom
You have given Me that they may be one as We are.
“I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will
believe in Me through their word; (You and me)
all may be one,
as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also
may be one in Us,
that the world may believe that You sent Me. 22 And the glory
which You gave Me I have given them, that they
may be one just as We are one:
23 I in them, and You in Me;
that they may be made perfect in one,
and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them
as You have loved Me.
This is how much Jesus Christ longed, and still longs,
for unity in His body.
I will value and honor Christ’s wish and prayer and will
I not be guilty of adding another tear and another wound to my Savior’s
I will not leave United!
3. I WILL NOT LEAVE UNITED BECAUSE I WANT TO FOLLOW THE
ARCHANGEL MICHAEL’S EXAMPLE, NOT LUCIFER’S.
From the start, Michael proved to be totally faithful and
committed to God. No matter what logical-sounding and righteous-sounding
reasons Lucifer presented, Michael understood the critical dimension of
respect for Divine authority and humbly submitted to it.
We know that Lucifer deceived 1/3 of the angels and that
they finally even dared to rebel against the Almighty. Michael stood
firm and fought for God.
book of Jude
gives us a hint of the kind of extraordinary character
this Archangel had all along.
Jude 1: 8 Likewise also these dreamers defile
the flesh, reject authority, and speak evil of dignitaries.
9 Yet Michael the archangel, in contending with the devil,
when he disputed about the body of Moses,
bring against him a reviling accusation, but said, “The Lord rebuke
This scripture is of such profound implication that it
bears a close analysis.
Michael, superior to Satan,
bring against him a railing accusation.
Why? Because Satan, in spite of his evil character, has
been allowed by God to retain a position of authority as King of this
world and as ruler over the rebellious angels and, though Satan
according to Scriptures is evil, and a deceiver, and a false accuser,
and a sower of discord, and a sower of turmoil and according to Christ,
a liar and a murderer, Michael submitted to God’s wishes and left the
judgment to God. “The Lord rebuke you!” He said. May God judge you,
Satan, not I.
I refuse to stand in judgment of God’s appointed leaders.
It is God’s duty to judge them, not I.
people Jude condemns, though infinitely less important than Michael,
instead, to “reject
authority, and speak evil of dignitaries”.
I dare not
reject authority and speak evil of authority figures or follow people
I will follow Michael's example, not Lucifer's.
I will stay in United!
4. I REFUSE TO LEAVE UNITED BECAUSE I REFUSE TO FOLLOW
You know the story; Korah and a few others within the
congregation of Israel rebelled against Moses, God’s chosen leader.
Korah did not want any authority over himself. Korah led
a rebellion against God’s anointed. He criticized the authority
appointed by God. His words sounded noble and sanctimonious: More power
to the people; honor and respect for all; equality in the congregation.
“You take too much upon yourselves, for all
the congregation is holy, every one of them, and the LORD is
among them. Why then do you exalt yourselves above the assembly of the
LORD?” (Numbers 16:3)
you read the story carefully you will find that in the end Korah had
succeeded in causing so much anger, so much resentment and so much
turmoil within the congregation that
finally stood up against Moses.
is the power of a Satan-inspired rebel. God, though, saw; God judged and
intervened dramatically to purge Israel of the rebels. God will do the
same with other rebels who dare do the same, if their motives are the
same as Korah's.
JUDE 1: 11 Woe to them! For they have gone in
the way of Cain, have run greedily in the error of Balaam for profit,
and perished in the rebellion of Korah.
Korah, his close assistants, and many others were
This was the end result of Korah’s rebellion against
God’s anointed and his "disregard" for peace and unity. Rebelling
against God's appointed authorities can lead not only to temporary
destruction but to eternal destruction, if not repented of.
I will follow Moses’ example and I refuse to follow
am staying in United!
5. I WILL NOT LEAVE UNITED BECAUSE I WANT TO FOLLOW
DAVID’S EXAMPLE, NOT KING SAUL’S EXAMPLE.
Initially, King Saul’s example was one of humility, but
his attitude took a serious turn for the worse and he became rebellious
and justified his attitude with absurd rationalizations.
In 1 Samuel 15 Saul is told by Samuel to
“attack Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have,
and do not spare them.”
What did he do, instead?
9 But Saul and the people spared Agag and the best of
the sheep, the oxen, the fatlings, the lambs, and all that
was good, and were unwilling to utterly destroy them.
What was God’s response?
I Samuel 15
10 Now the word of the LORD came to Samuel, saying, 11
“I greatly regret that I have set up Saul as king, for he has
turned back from following Me, and has not performed My commandments.”
And it grieved Samuel, and he cried out to the LORD all night. 13
Then Samuel went to Saul, and Saul said to him, “Blessed are you
of the LORD! I have performed the commandment of the LORD.”
14 But Samuel said, “What then is this bleating of the
sheep in my ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear?”
15 And Saul said, “They have brought them from the
Amalekites; for the people spared the best of the sheep and the
oxen, to sacrifice to the LORD your God; and the rest we have
16 Then Samuel said to Saul, “Be quiet! And I will tell you
what the LORD said to me last night.”
And he said to him, “Speak on.”
17 So Samuel said, “When you were little in your own
eyes, were you not head of the tribes of Israel? And did not the
LORD anoint you king over Israel? 18 Now the LORD sent you on
a mission, and said, ‘Go, and utterly destroy the sinners, the
Amalekites, and fight against them until they are consumed.’ 19
Why then did you not obey the voice of the LORD? Why did you
swoop down on the spoil, and do evil in the sight of the LORD?”
20 And Saul said to Samuel, “But I have obeyed the voice of
the LORD, and gone on the mission on which the LORD sent me, and brought
back Agag king of Amalek; I have utterly destroyed the Amalekites.
21 But the people took of the plunder, sheep and oxen, the
best of the things which should have been utterly destroyed, to
sacrifice to the LORD your God in Gilgal.”
Noble and sanctimonious-sounding, indeed.
but what did God think?
So Samuel said:
“Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and
As in obeying the voice of the LORD?
Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice,
And to heed than the fat of rams.
And now one of the most important scriptures in the
For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft,
And stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.
Because you have rejected the
word of the LORD,
also has rejected you from being king.”
Would the merciful God have forgiven Saul, if he had
deeply repented? Without any doubt.
What did he do instead? He rationalized his actions with
This is the spirit I believe I see in some of the main
culprits of the present division. I see a disregard for God’s authority
accompanied by rationalizations (Logical sounding but empty excuses).
A man who held a very high position within the foreign
work of UCG was told not long ago to appear before the COE to clarify
some issues and not go on a planned trip to visit congregations in
foreign lands. He refused to do so because, and I quote his words, “It
would have been a waste of money.” (How noble sounding…). When
consequenced for his defiant attitude he did not acknowledge his serious
error and, rather than repent, this is what he said:
"Since Roy stated that it was a Council 'request' that I cancel the trip
and appear before them the next week I decided that I would continue
with my plans. The Council did not order me to appear
before them—they only requested it.”
Sound familiar? This is Saul’s attitude all the way.
Let me now quote the concluding remarks of this man’s
email to our President:
“Denny, I hope that a way can be found to move back from this
confrontation. I am willing to work with you on this. I believe that the starting point is for you
to reinstate me as Regional Director. The Spanish ministry want this—in
fact they insist on it.
I do not see how we
can prevent the inevitable (which no one wants!)
unless I am reinstated.” (Emphasis mine).
Translation: You COE either submit to our will or we will
a rebellious spirit of Saul coupled with rationalizations, but demands
and veiled threats.
God our leadership stood its ground. Woe unto any ruling body of any
organization that caves in to a spirit
of rebellion on the
part of its subordinates.
the other hand, there is David.
He submitted to one of the most evil, cruel, unjust, unfair, calloused
and demonic men that ever lived.
The present disaffected group talks about abuse of
authority and the right to cause a traumatic division because of it.
What did David do, under "undeniable" abuse of authority?
had been ordained by God to be the next King. He could have had lots of
reasons to say, “This man is unjust with God’s people; he abuses God’s
people; he is evil; he has left God; he is demon possessed; he deserves
to die and it is my duty to God’s people to
get rid him.”
He, instead, refused to dishonor God by rebelling against
waited on God to deal with Saul, as He saw fit.
Saul, He passed the great test.
Now let me read to you the words of Fred Kellers, a UCG
minister who clearly has David’s heart. This is what he had to say:
not always agreed with the council but I have always agreed that we have
chosen to ask Jesus to guide us as a group, either through the General
Conference of Elders for some items and through the Council of Elders
for other things. If I don't agree with the council, I have ethical
ways to show my disagreement. I can also fast and trust Jesus Christ to
be the head of his body. What I don't have the option of doing is
causing division and upset. My job is to help lead His sheep beside the
David’s heart. This is the heart I want to emulate. I want to emulate
the one who
dares not rebel against
God’s appointed authority, not the one who
openly rebelled and then dared to rationalize his actions with absurd
one more reason why I will not leave United!
6. I WILL NOT LEAVE UNITED BECAUSE THE WORDS OF THE
APOSTLE PAUL ARE MORE IMPORTANT TO ME THAN THE WORDS OF OTHER
SELF-APPOINTED SAVIORS OF THE CHURCH.
Paul reflected the
wishes of Christ. Paul demanded that Christians and Christian leaders
reflect the wishes of Christ.
1 Corinthians 1:10" Now I plead with you, brethren,
by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing,
and that there be no divisions among you,
but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the
Corinthians 12:12 "For as the body is
one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being
many, are one body, so also is Christ."
Strive to be perfectly joined together, because
we are the body of Christ.
What is the real cause of most divisions, according to
Paul? Is it noble- sounding reasons? Is it a “seeming” love of justice
"For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are
you not carnal and behaving like mere men?"
Carnality, is the major reason for strife and
divisions, not spirituality.
What should be our response to people that cause
divisions within Christ's Body?
Romans 16:17 Now I urge you,
brethren, note those who cause
offenses, contrary to the
doctrine which you learned,
who is presently causing divisions in the Body and I,
have chosen to avoid
to heed Paul's words and I refuse to follow anyone who causes strife,
offenses and divisions.
not leave United!
I REFUSE TO LEAVE UNITED BECAUSE I BELIEVE IN THE
SACREDNESS OF THE PRINCIPLE THAT CHRISTIANS OUGHT TO SUBMIT TO
AUTHORITY, ESPECIALLY IN THE CHURCH, FOR AS LONG AS THE LEADERS DO NOT
TAMPER WITH GOD’S LAWS.
This is what Paul says, unequivocally, about the kind of
attitude we are to have toward authorities:
Let every soul be subject to the governing
authorities. For there is
no authority except
from God, and the authorities that exist are
appointed by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the
authority resists the
ordinance of God, and
will bring judgment on themselves.
If this is true of secular authorities,
how much more so of authorities within the Church. How
much more so of people who have been entrusted by God to be His
representatives, to love and serve and protect His people and to bring
His message to the world.
Yes, it's true; if the leadership blatantly rejects God's
laws and refuses to repent then we have the right to stand up for what
is holy and right. Unfortunately, some people are now using this
rallying cry to say that the church is trying to abolish the Sabbath,
and thus they are free to depart and create another group.
That is a total absurdity.
The laws of God at times need to be applied with a spirit
of mercy. The Sabbath has gray areas. The Church will at times be called
upon to render judgments with a spirit of mercy. Other decisions will
also be rendered by the Church which might perturb extreme conservatives
or extreme liberals. Sometimes we will move somewhat to the right or
somewhat to the left. Christ in time has and will bring about
adjustments to bring us closer to a balance.
At times I will agree with the decisions rendered by the
COE, at times I might not agree. When I agree, other ministers might
disagree. When I disagree, other ministers might agree. No matter where
I stand, I will respect the decisions of our church authorities, when it
come to the applications of some principles.
Because, as we have seen, that is of utmost importance to God.
Submitting to authorities is critical, because God
told us to do so, and
because it tells God where we stand
Submitting to imperfect authorities, tells
God that we honor His wishes and are willing to submit to
If United were to abolish any one of God's commandments,
we will again stay firm and faithful to God. We would not rebel
by doing so. The Church would rebel. It would leave God, we would not.
there is no such reality going on right now,
because such a move requires a 3/4 majority approval on the part of all
the ministry and this is not even remotely close to happening.
As the COE tries to apply biblical principles in a
merciful way, I will remain respectful of their decisions. I don’t have
to agree, but I do have to remain respectful.
That’s what Michael understood; that’s what the great men
of the Bible understood and they are the ones I want to emulate.
This is one more reason why I will not leave United.
I REFUSE TO LEAVE UNITED BECAUSE I DO NOT TRUST THE
MOTIVES OF THOSE WHO CAUSE DIVISIONS.
When you listen to those who cause divisions, they invariably sound especially righteous and
Yet, when I
of division, I always
question their ultimate motives. Why? Because the Bible tells me to.
what Paul told the elders in Ephesus, before his Departure from that
Acts 20:28-30 Therefore take heed to yourselves and to
all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to
shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.
29 For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will
come in among you, not sparing the flock. 30 Also from
among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things,
to draw away the disciples after
I respect people who have disagreements with the church
and leave in peace. They cause no turmoil; they do not try to convince
others of their ways. They leave and do not cause divisions,
understanding the seriousness of the matter.
Unfortunately, in way too many cases, leaders who have
left took a following with them. This fact should make all ponder why
they are really leaving. Paul gives us one central reason: “...to draw away the disciples
Paul then gives us one more critical detail in his
critique of the Judaizers who continually caused turmoil and divisions
in the church when Christianity started.
They appeared to have very noble motives. They wanted
strict obedience to the Law. They wanted uncompromising righteousness.
But that was the sanctimonious surface. What was under the surface that
a lot of members could not see? But was the real motive?
Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things
which they ought not,
for filthy lucre's sake. (Their
There is more, of course.
Sometimes the major cause is anger because of offenses that may have
happened and were not forgiven; sometimes it's envy; envy for
positions they don’t have or that they had and "no longer have."
not trust the leaders of the present disaffected group. Of course, some
may be less guilty than others. Yet,
when I see people who create divisions, I look beneath the veneer of
sanctimonious excuses to find what Paul told me to look for: lust for
power and control, taking people's tithes, resentment and envy.
I do not trust the motives of the leaders
of the disaffected group.
I will not leave United!
I WILL NOT LEAVE UNITED BECAUSE I BELIEVE THAT CHRIST IS
IN CHARGE OF UNITED.
Jesus Christ is the mind that runs His body. He is fully
aware of every member and organ in that body. He knows which is strong,
which is weak; which is sickly and which is vibrant. He is strong enough
to deal with each and every one of the members of His body. I will trust
that He will do that, if necessary, in due time, in United.
Are there weak members in the COE? If so, He knows it. Is
there injustice at the very top? If so, He knows it. If so, can Christ
deal with them as He deals with me to bring them into a state of
sobriety and repentance? Absolutely!
Jesus Christ does not need me to set the leadership of the church
straight, "if" they go astray. I will trust in Him and will wait
I will not trust people who tell me to trust "their" judgment and "their"
perspective on facts and follow them.
I will not follow such people.
I will remain in United!
I WILL NOT LEAVE UNITED BECAUSE I DO NOT FOLLOW PEOPLE
WHO EXHIBIT THE WORKS OF THE FLESH.
How, you may say? Five of the works of the flesh listed
in Galatians 5 deal with attitudes and behaviors that cause divisions:
Variance, Emulation, Strife, Seditions, Heresies are all manifestations
of the same spirit which leads to the same painful and destructive
results: confusion, strive and schisms. Furthermore, divisions may also
find its roots in two other “insidious” works of the flesh, described
before, that are hard to see and that often are often also at work,
“envy” and “hatred” (or its milder manifestation, “resentment”).
No matter how they slice it, no matter how noble their
reasons might appear, the results of their actions have been
turmoil and divisions.
is enough for me. "You shall know them by their fruits," said Jesus
I have looked at the fruits and the fruits of turmoil and division are
not from God.
I will not follow people who exhibit attitudes and
actions that bring about turmoil and division in Christ’s body.
I am staying in United!
I will not leave United because I do not follow people that do not
exhibit the fruits of the spirit.
Nice sermons will not suffice; pleasant personalities
will not do; a warm smile and a firm hand shake is not enough.
I looked for the fruits of Agape love and, instead, I found accusations,
exaggerations and demands.
I especially, and most of all, looked for Agape love for
God’s people and instead I found the willingness to traumatize again a
traumatized people; the willingness to wound again a wounded people; to
cause anguish again for people who have already tasted more than enough
I did not see in them the Agape love that longs to give
peace to them who are in dire need of peace.
say to us, “Where is the love in the leadership of United?”, for dealing
with rebellious attitudes with firmness. They sound as
though they have the corner on love, when in reality they show lack of
love towards God’s people by being willing to traumatize God's precious
flock, once again, with one more unnecessary
I ask of them, “Where is your love?”. Have you considered
the casualties that you will leave behind? Have you considered how many
Christians will say, "Enough is enough; I want nothing to do with
Christianity ever again!" Have you considered the ones who will fall
into such confusion and depression again that their daily lives
will be severely affected? Have you considered the ones who will be so
hurt, so disappointed and upset that they will leave God altogether and
who might even become unbelievers?
I would also ask them, “Have you considered the number of
families that will fall part because of your decision? The number of
friendships that will end? The number of couples that will divorce? The
number of parents and children and brothers and sisters that will end up
in conflict?”, as we have seen already in the past.
You seem to glow with warmth and kindness, but
where is your love?
The turmoil and confusion you have created is
not love and I want nothing to do with you!
I am staying in United!
12. I WILL NOT LEAVE UNITED BECAUSE OUR SYSTEM OF
CHECKS AND BALANCES WORKS, WITH PEOPLE OF GOOD WILL.
Is there a probability that the COE can weaken
spiritually? Yes. That was the assumption on which our system of government
was built. There is a possibility that the leaders could deviate and
The solution? Close scrutiny on the part of the GCE and
re-election of the members of the COE every three years.
“three” COE members are up for re-election. Every twenty four months we
can theoretically have a new majority on the Board (9 out of 12).
This is the peaceful, decent, orderly, civilized, godly
way of dealing with a COE that may go astray.
There is no need for revolutions.
There is no need for new groups.
There is no need for turmoil and divisions.
There is no need for people to quit the COE.
There is no need for ministers to resign.
There is no need for members to move to another group.
But there is a need for people of good will, who are
patient, who are filled with trust in Christ the Head of the Church, and
who are willing to let the system "self-correct," as it was meant to do
from the start.
Some of the ministers who have left helped create the
system, but failed to wait to let it work.
Why? Did they forget how the system works? Why the
I will not follow people who are impatient and who do not
trust in Christ and who don’t have the nobility to allow a system that
works, to work.
I will stay in United!
Let me now conclude by repeating what I have already
stated, lest there be any doubt as to where I stand.
I will not leave United to follow the leaders of the
splinter group because,
1. I refuse to break my Father’s heart one more time.
2. I dare not put another cut or tear into my Savior's
3. I will strive to follow Michael’s example, not
4. I will strive to follow Moses’ example, not Korah’s.
5. I will strive to follow David’s example not Saul’s.
6. I will strive to follow Paul’s words, not the words of
self-appointed saviors of the Church.
7. I will submit to Church authority, though imperfect,
because God wants me to.
8. I do not trust the motives of anyone who causes
9. I believe that Christ loves United, that He is in
charge of United and that He rules among United and that He will set
things straight, if and when the
10. I will not follow people who exhibit the works of the
flesh, especially as pertaining divisions.
11. I will not follow people who are more concerned about
implementing their own agenda than loving and protecting God’s people.
12. I will not leave United because I believe that our
system of checks and balances works, when people of good will wait for
it to work and when they are willing to help it to work. In my view,
the people who have left have not shown sufficient willingness to do
These are my major reasons for staying in United. I hope
and pray that you share most, or all, of these reasons and that, in
fact, you may actually have many more than mine.
It is an honor to be a minister in the United Church of
God; it is an honor to serve with special ministers who with me will
stay solid and faithful; it is an honor to serve the members who have
chosen to remain faithful in our Church and,
most of all, it is an honor to submit to
God and Jesus Christ and their will that I do not contribute to turmoil
and division but, rather, to peace and to unity.
Mike Caputo (Non-salaried, Canadian UCG Elder)
THIS ARTICLE MAY BE
REPRODUCED FOR NON-COMMERCIAL PURPOSES.
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(This article has
been posted on my, Militant Atheism Exposed web site. I have done
so, not because I am implying any affinity of the disaffected group to
atheism, but because it will provide a faster appearance on the
Copyright, Michael Caputo, 2010