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Copyright © Jules Dervaes

January 14, 2011

A compilation of comments from discussions with Jules Dervaes

On December 23, 2010, another granddaughter was born to the Worldwide Church of God. Earlier this week, she was officially christened Church of God, a Worldwide Association (the winner out of 411 suggested names). Regretfully, her mother, United Church of God, an International Association, was not present in body (but most certainly in spirit).

Like mother, like daughter,1 now like granddaughter. The message2 of this newest entity is the same as her mother’s:3 we are here to provide you a home.

  • We are forming this new organization as a home for believers who share our mission, our values and our beliefs.
  • Plans will be made for providing a spiritual home for members and elders who have become disenfranchised and disillusioned….

And that home will be just like the one that has been left, “our previous organization,” a.k.a. UCG. The organizational conference held in Louisville, Kentucky, this week4 made that clear. Even before the conference itself, pre-conference committees were established “to ensure the continuity of important church programs.”

  • Opening address by a recent former president of the UCG.
  • Interim governance team of former UCG elders and leaders.
  • “All established policies that existed in our previous organization will remain in effect until changes are made.”
  • Funds provided so that “we will immediately begin taking care of those relying upon the Church for financial assistance,” including widows, retired ministers, pastors, and other salaried ministers.
  • Pastors provided for congregations “as soon as possible.”
  • Support of doctrines, “20 fundamental beliefs,” established by UCG in 1995.
  • “Preaching the gospel” via development of literature and the Internet: “We have just as much passion for doing this as ever.”
  • Educational programs—highest priority is youth camps.
  • Feast of Tabernacles: “We have 20 or more past Feast coordinators.” (The FUN times will continue.)

Above all, members of this new organization can be assured that God is on their side: “Christ has allowed all that has happened. He knows of this meeting. Let’s pray for His direction. If we are faithful, we can be confident that God will finish His work in us (Philippians 1:6).”


What can we learn from the course of these recent events? Certainly, nothing new or surprising has occurred. It was all laid out 25 years ago.5 The genetic trait of “schism” is being passed down through the generations: “Betrayal begets betrayal; one coup only spawns others.6 And, as the evidence shows, the second and third generations are doing nothing to resist or change this trait.

One could easily dismiss this latest crisis as a mere blip on the news radar, of interest only to the insiders (and former insiders) of an obscure religious group. Yet, the lessons being demonstrated are universal and applicable at a very personal level.

While the COGWA pre-conference committees were meeting, an interview was published7 about the making of a newly released movie. While we have not seen and will not see this movie because of its graphic nature and because it presents a wrong solution, the interview touches on a core issue of human nature.

As the female lead explains,

Basically, the crux of the movie is that when you’re a teenager or a young adult, you say, “When I grow up, I’m not going to be anything like my parents. I’m going to get the hell out of here and I’m going to reinvent myself, and you won’t be able to see their shadow anywhere inside of me.”

And then you wake up in your relationship and you think, “I am my mom and I married my dad. How did that happen, when all I wanted to do was get away and be my own person? They’re there. One’s living inside of me and I’m sleeping with the other.”

And [the character] realizes she’s in the middle of playing this out. And she knows how the story’s going to end. So if she doesn’t make a change, she may as well go on autopilot for the rest of her life.

The crux of becoming an adult, a mature Christian, is to know our genetic heritage, to understand the patterns that define who we are and govern what we do, most especially in our intimate relationships. Then, the crucial, ongoing life task is to RESIST the harmful influences and CHANGE the negative patterns.

The problem, of course, is that we are comfortable with our heritage, with who we are, and do not see the need to change; we are at home with ourselves and seek to recreate that place—whether in a church organization or in a marriage—where we can continue to feel at home. Because “at home-ness” is our natural state, our default way of existing and relating, the status quo, we will have to experience discomfort and the unsettled feeling of being not-at-home, not ourselves, in attempting to make any change.

God has instituted a most excellent training program, the school of marriage, to give us the opportunity to confront (and be confronted with) the inherited traits we must struggle to change. We must leave our old selves, our previous home, and cleave to another.

In a worldly sense, we go from one home to a new home and do not experience uncertainty. In true Christianity and true marriage, however, change comes as a result of having NO home. It is in this situation of uncertainty where Christ works.

In the stark language of Christianity, we have to “lose our life” and “put off our old self.” The call to be a disciple of Christ is the call to be a pilgrim, to be “strangers and foreigners,” to be homeless while seeking a better homeland (Hebrews 11:13-16).


1 “Preface: September 21, 1998,” The Hidden Years, by Jules Dervaes, page ix.
2 Press Release and Conference Updates, December 24, 2010 – January 11, 2011, published online by Church of God, a Worldwide Association, http://cogwa.org/news.html.
3 “Homeless In Your City?” by Jules Dervaes, January 7, 2011.
4 Press Release and Conference Updates, December 24, 2010 – January 11, 2011, published online by Church of God, a Worldwide Association, http://cogwa.org/news.html.
5 The Hidden Years, by Jules Dervaes, 1998.
6 “Letter to Mr. Tkach, Jr. from Jules Dervaes: August 26, 1996” in The Hidden Years, by Jules Dervaes, page 315.
7 “Not by Heart” by Glenn Whipp in Los Angeles Times, January 6, 2011, page S24.

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