The Louisville lads have decided to confirm the name Church of God, a Worldwide Association. My question: A worldwide association of what?
Not congregations, after all there are no local boards - are there?
Not Christians, as the lay members have no representation, do they?
As far as I understand it, it's an association of ministers. But does an association of ministers make a church?
Of course, the same could be asked of the United Church of God, an International Association. No representation, just a bunch of elders - most hugely underqualified for the task - operating as a hierarchic-structured oligarchy.
Lads, lads, it's not the way of the future.
But these guys think in binary terms. Black/white, right/wrong, hierarchy/anarchy, episcopal/congregational.
Now that most of the control freaks have gone, maybe UCG can revisit their structure. Why not offer two levels of association, centralised and local? Why can't congregations like the Big Sandy church, for example, exist within the fold instead of having to peel off? You want to manage your own finances, fine! You want to elect your own board, great! Everyone has a code of ethics to adhere to, common management policies and a commitment to an agreed doctrinal statement. Fabulous, now go away and make yourselves useful! Maybe those congregations managed from the center would reap some advantages of their own too, especially those which don't have the financial grunt or people-skills needed. Everyone gets together every year or so at a fully representative conference, elders and lay people.
Who would choose which model to operate under? Who would choose their representatives? Why the local people themselves!
How hard could that be? Frankly, it's not rocket science. A couple of semi-intelligent COE members could draft something workable on the back of an envelope over a coffee inside thirty minutes - if they had the will to do so.
Maybe it's time for those remaining with UCG to take the lemons and make lemonade.